Character Counts!


The Rotary Club of Thomasville and our youth need you! Please consider becoming an integral part of a very meaningful program to instill critical character elements in the young people of our community.

Thomasville Rotarians have long resolved to improve the educational outcomes of students in local schools. Faced with dismal local graduation rates, the club used a multi-pronged approach to tackle the problem. From mentoring to reading programs to underscoring character growth, Rotarians have fanned out across the community volunteering their time, talents, and resources to make a difference.

Educators will tell you that producing a workforce that has the requisite technical skills is not so much the problem as producing a workforce that is dependable, honest, and responsible. Employers beg for employees that will SHOW UP! And today more than ever we need a citizenry that has the character to become involved in the building of community at all levels.

In 2013 -14 Past President Jeff Zoller was searching for a worthy district grant project directed toward bolstering those educational outcomes. He made the acquaintance of a remarkable woman, Arlisha Wildgoose, who is program director at The Vashti Center, a facility for emotionally troubled youth. It was Wildgoose who brought Character Counts to Zoller’s attention. According to Wildgoose, “Character Counts is a national program that aims to empower youth through character building. It nurtures six traits: kindness, fairness, caring, citizenship, trustworthiness, and respectfulness. The goal is to mold responsible, productive citizens.” The grant was written and awarded, the materials purchased, and Rotarians became engaged. An enduring partnership between Thomasville’s club and Vashti was forged. And most importantly according to Wildgoose, “the program improved the youths’ self-concept and their behavior.”

Other Thomasville youth programs added to the Character Counts rolls since its Thomasville inception are the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club, The Thomasville Resource Center, and Scott Elementary School. To become involved in this critical Rotary Club program please reach out to the Character Counts committee chairman, Elijah Miranda at or call 706.315.7969.

Posted by Susan Backofen
September 29, 2020


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