Birth Announcement — the Rotary “Character Counts” opportunity!

So many of you have been following the progress of my latest book, "Character Counts: Bringing the Rotary Four-Way Test to Life."  I've been sharing progress along the way and have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated your comments and feedback on the emails so far.

I've been telling you that I have some exciting news to share, and today is the day I want to let you in on what's coming up!  Below, please see the text of a Press Release announcing an opportunity for you to take part in bring the Rotary life!  I'm launching a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo next week, but I didn't just want to spring in on everyone on the launch date -- I wanted to share my plans with you first.  Statistics show that successful campaigns get 20% or more of their funding in the first week after launch. I'm hoping the message of "Character Counts" resonates with you so that you'll take part in the campaign and become an active supporter of the "Rotary is Character" movement.

Because you are already a loyal supporter of the book's efforts, I thought I'd offer you a chance to preview the campaign. I've only sent this link out to a handful of people and the feedback has been very positive. A few folks have already inquired where the "donate" button'll be there once I officially launch.

Here, then, is the  Indiegogo campaign - Click on the image and you should be redirected to the site. If not, you can access it here: 

The actual campaign link will be available once we launch on Wednesday, April 27.  The campaign will run for 45 days. As you'll see, there are a number of great "rewards" I am offering in exchange for your generous support at all levels. No amount is too small and I thank you in advance for your consideration. Feel free to share the preview link with others you think might be interested in knowing about the campaign and support the need for more information about Rotary, about character, about compassion in our society.
QUICK UPDATE (4/24/2017): If you aren't already on my mailing list for new notices (general topics as well as campaign updates) click the button to join us!


And, just for a show of hands, if you think you'll be willing to support the campaign, would you drop me an email just saying "I'm in?"

I want to thank you all in advance for your time, your thoughts, and your great support.  You have proven again and again that Rotary IS Character and Character COUNTS!

Now, for the press release...


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Education: Intelligence PLUS Character

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." - Martin Luther King, Jr.martin luther king jr goal for education character intelligence

I've always liked that quote because I think it really says what the goal of education should really be. I also think it sets a precedence for why we need to focus on teaching character in schools. While I don't believe that our schools should be responsible for all aspects of education, I also know that too many of our children are not learning critical character and lifeskills that they need.  When they don't, not only do they suffer in school but they continue to lag behind in the skills they need to be successful in life.


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“It’s not the school’s job…”

Tell me if you've heard this argument:  the principal or administrator says social skills/character/values education shouldn't be part of school curriculum because it shoul be taught in the home.  "It's not the school's place."  Okay...then what about...

  • In this country, we have a policy that children will be taught in the English language. But, what if they can't speak English because their parents are from another culture or country? School: " Well, we HAVE to teach them English because without it, they'll be behind academically and socially. Besides, if we don't teach them, where else will they learn it?"
  • Too many children are overweight and unfit -- because of poor diet, lack of exercise, other unhealthy habits and behaviors.  Teaching them about nutrition and the value of healthy living should be the parents' jobs, right? School: "But so much of their learning and being a successful student depends on making good food choices, watching their weight, and getting appropriate levels of exercise.  If the parents don't practice good nutrition, where else will they learn it?"
  • Food programs -- why is it the schools' responsibility to offer meals at free and reduced costs to kids?  Isn't it the parent's job to make sure their children are fed?  School: "Well, if the parents are unable to feed their kids, we have to provide meals because so much of the child's abilities to pay attention and function in school is hampered if they haven't eaten.  If parent's don't provide for their kids, where else will they get it?"

These are just a few examples of other "non-academic" programs that are offered daily in our nation's schools, yet technically should not be the responsibility of the school system. Yet, we do it...because, in essence we MUST.  The health and success of the child academically, phyically, socially DEPENDS on it.

Yet I get this "it's not the school's job" argument regularly about social skills and character ed.  Hey, I am the FIRST person who would agree that it SHOULDN'T have to fall on the school's shoulders to teach these "life skills" but the reality is that the schools suffer in all areas because kids lack appropriate school-readiness skills.

Social skills are the #1 factor in our children's personal and professional success. Kids that come into school without adequate school-readiness skills start off behind their more socialized peers academically,socially, and emotionally. Without effective intervention or education, they are likely to remain behind, and will exit the school system inadquately prepared for either college or the job market.

More significantly, poor social skills affects not just one individual learner or subject, but every aspect of the student's learning and the educational environment as a whole.  A student isn't more likely to fail academically just because he or she is overweight.  A teacher isn't likely to quit her job if a few of her students aren't proficient in English. A student won't start a smackdown with his peers if he doesn't know the components of the FDA Food Pyramid. But, all these things are direct or indirect results of appropriate social skills.

Schools have so much to lose (and ARE losing) if this area isn't addressed. Taxpayer dollars are wasted, teachers are demoralized, school violence continues to be at epidemic levels, students underachieve and the achievement gap for low-income and minority students remains high.  Yes, teaching social skills and character HAS become the school's job because we can no longer depend on students coming to school ready to learn and participate in a classroom environment. As one teacher recently said, "with all the interruptions and disruptions in the classroom that stem from students who aren't respectful of teachers and peers, don't appreciate their educational opportunities and can't get along with others, when is the real teaching supposed to happen?"

School's necessary response: "If the kids don't learn good social skills outside of school, where else will they learn?"

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