‘It’s about building a better place to live,’ says council co-chair
By joining a grassroots initiative focused on character building Listowel Christian School (LCS) is seeking to reinforce its commitment to character development among its students, as well as become more involved in the local community, says principal Garth Bierma.
The North Perth Community of Character Council is a group of area schools, businesses and organizations aiming to encourage everyone who lives in North Perth to work, play and live with character.
The council promotes the following 11 attributes: respect, empathy, courage, compassion, responsibility, perseverance, optimism, honesty, fairness, integrity and inclusiveness.
School assemblies, newspaper columns and a fall event geared to celebrating character are some of the tools the council is using to make character an aspiration for everyone.
In addition, the council has developed criteria for schools, businesses and agencies to work towards in order to receive accreditation as an organization of character.
Stephanie Gratton, a facilitator at Community Living North Perth and the key impetus behind the development of the council, is passionate about making North Perth a community of character.
“We believe that we’ll become a richer community at all levels if these character traits are valued and respected,” says Gratton, council co-chair.
“It’s about becoming a better place to live.”
Bierma, who represents LCS on the council, says the school already has a code of conduct and commitment to developing the character of its students. The school’s theme for the upcoming school year is the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which includes love, patience, kindness and goodness.
Becoming involved in a community effort, however, helps students see that becoming people of character is also valued in the larger community. It’s also a way for the school to become more integrated into the community.
“We’re pretty excited that not only can we be involved in a community organization but also that it’s something that’s going to tie directly to what we’re doing at the school,” says Bierma.
LCS students will be attending an assembly on character building, co-ordinated by the council, at the local public high school in September. In addition, the Christian school is working towards receiving its accreditation as a school of character.
Gratton notes that the North Perth Community of Character Council is inspiring other communities across the province, including North Huron and Stratford, to join together to become people of character.