Community of Character Committee
To enhance our community, City Council Member Trish Kelley in February 2003 recommended the City of Mission Viejo become a City of Character. The City Council adopted a resolution establishing Mission Viejo as a City of Character and approved the following mission statement: "To create a positive environment in our community by using a framework that builds good character values and assets, thereby making Mission Viejo a stronger, healthier and safer community."
Though the Council approved the concept of making Mission Viejo a City of Character, there was no funding committed to the effort. Council Member Kelley then recruited a committee of volunteers and business supporters to create and implement this City’s own unique character program. The committee asked residents to submit ideas on the most important character traits. Through this voting process, the top 12 character qualities were identified. Trish and committee member Bill Klimek penned the initial documents explaining each quality, and Trish rewrote the 12 documents in 2017.
The core program includes a two-page resource document for each trait with information about the quality, suggestions on books to read relating to the quality, application recommendations and quotes about the trait. Each month, a picture “poster” is created to depict the character quality. Volunteers deliver these materials to every teacher in all 25 Mission Viejo schools. Since its inception, the program has garnered much praise from principals, teachers and students alike. The program continues to make a positive impact on Mission Viejo’s youth and serves as a model for other communities to follow.
In fact, the Character program has received numerous honors since its inception. In 2004, the League of California Cities recognized the City program with the prestigious Helen Putnam Award of Excellence Grand Prize. Later that year, the Community of Character Program was showcased at the League of California Cities Annual Conference in Long Beach, where several cities expressed interest in launching similar programs. In 2005, Trish Kelley and City staffers presented a workshop at the California Parks and Recreation Services Conference in Sacrament to teach other cities how to adopt character programs. Education about Mission Viejo’s citywide program continued in 2011 at a workshop session at the National Forum on Character Education in San Francisco. Three years later, the Community of Character program received a Promising Practices Award at the Character Education Partnership National Forum. In 2018, Trish and Library and Cultural Services Coordinator Vickie Sullivan presented a session at the National Forum on Character called “Creating a Community of Character” to teach folks how to expand their school-based character curricula into citywide programs.
Along with character materials provided to all 25 schools, the entire City focuses on each character trait. Every month, the character word and posters are displayed in the heart of town on the electronic marquee and bus shelter at the corner of Marguerite and La Paz along with other locations in town. The words are shared in City publications and are announced at City Council meetings. To support the trait and offer fun and educational afternoons, the committee hosts a free “Film of Character” each month at City Hall. Teen committee members plan several programs and activities each year and take part in numerous City of Mission Viejo events.
The Community of Character Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of the month in the Saddleback Room at City Hall, 200 Civic Center. Teens 14 and older as well as adults are welcome! People interested in serving on the committee can obtain an application from Vickie Sullivan in the Library and Cultural Services Department. For more information, contact her at 949-830-7100, ext. 5128 or City Council Member Trish Kelley at 949-285-0309.
Over a three-month period from mid April to early July, 2003, input was requested through newspaper ads and voting forms that were distributed at the city library and at various community activities. Twelve qualities were finally identified, representing those most voted upon by community residents. Each character quality is highlighted monthly in our community.
|Community of Character Background|
|Background & Update 2018|
Character in the Community - Activities
- Films of Character
- Books on Character Development
- Teen Survival Guide Event
- Pyramid of Success
- Open House