By TAWNA TURNER
Clean your room, do your homework and eat your vegetables are common phrases parents use to build character in their children. But character development doesn’t only happen in the home, especially when the whole community gets involved.
A program called Lindon Character Connection has brought the Lindon community together in an effort to build character — especially among their youth.
Richard Draper, the program’s chairman of community involvement, was appointed as the city council liaison when the program was officially recognized in 1993.
“I believe that the more we can interlink the community such that the community has a common cause — the promotion of strong character — the more we can foster healthy families and homes,” he said.
Draper said the program has been so successful county officials want to implement it county-wide.
The mission statement of the program is very positive.
“Lindon Character Connection assists each family and member of our community to function effectively as a capable, productive, caring and responsible citizen,” according to the statement.
The program was the brain child of Teresa Griffin, a teacher at Pleasant Grove Senior High School. She thought of the idea back in 1990 in response to a general feeling of frustration among teachers who felt it important to teach students about character, values and ethics.
The teachers were cognizant of the sensitivity surrounding the church/state split, however, and didn’t know how to implement programs without overstepping their bounds.
A group of citizens met to create packets that could be distributed in schools and would also meet state regulations.
The packets are now distributed monthly and focus on specific character traits like responsibility, diligence and respect. The committee distributes the packets to schools within the Lindon area including Aspen Elementary, Lindon Elementary and Oak Canyon Junior High.
Paul Olson, principal at Oak Canyon, said the program helps with parental support.
“We know the community is focusing on the same character traits we are hoping our students will gain … We feel it has a positive impact,” he said.
Character Connection was formed with three main areas of focus: life skills, literacy andcCommunity involvement. A monthly newsletter is distributed in Lindon residents’ utility bills.
The newsletter talks about the character trait of the month and gives suggestions for related family activities. It also notifies residents of community activities that families can be involved in.
For the community involvement area, the program sponsors biannual community presentations specifically targeted at parents. The most recent meeting took place this month. Two BYU professors, Brent Top and Bruce Chadwick, spoke on how to curb teen delinquency.
Draper said he’s excited the community has been so supportive and that program has been successful.
“I’ll tell you it is a community effort. I just love it,” he said.