RICHMOND HILL – Over 200 delegates from education, business and community organizations gathered at the Sheraton Parkway North in Richmond Hill today to learn about the tools to build good character in schools, workplaces, and homes. Presented by the York Region Character Community Council, the first day of a two-day conference entitled Building Communities of Character featured afternoon guest and keynote speakers Premier Dalton McGuinty, who made character education a key element in his platform during last year’s provincial election, and Gordon Cressy, President of the Canadian Tire Foundation for Families.
Through a series of speakers, a variety of workshops, and displays and demonstrations, conference participants were provided with the knowledge, skills and strategies to implement character development programs in their homes, workplaces, schools and community involvements.
“York Region is a dynamic and progressive Region; yet, it is not without its challenges,” said Markham Mayor Don Cousens, Co-Chair of the York Region Character Community Council. “Through the development of good character, individuals in York Region will be equipped to face and overcome these challenges to ensure that York Region continues to be the best place in which to live, learn, work and play.”
In 2002, resolutions were passed declaring the Regional Municipality of York and its nine area municipalities to be communities of character. Shortly after, through extensive consultation with the public, the Council selected 11 character attributes that are believed to create character. They are: Compassion, Courage, Fairness, Honesty, Inclusiveness, Integrity, Initiative, Optimism, Perseverance, Respect and Responsibility. The Council also named Wendel Clark, former Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Champion of the York Region Character Community initiative.
The Building Communities of Character Conference continues tomorrow with keynote speaker Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former lieutenant governor of Maryland and President of Operation Respect, an American organization dedicated to creating safe, caring and respectful environments for children, as well as a panel discussion about next steps.
For more information about the York Region Character Community initiative, visit www.charactercommunity.com
or call Susan Smitko at 1-877-464-9675, Ext. 1522.
Lucia Cascioli, York Region District School Board, (905) 727-0022 or (416) 979-7170, Ext. 2340
Wendy Lewis, York Region, (905) 830-4444 or (416) 297-9696, ext. 1238
The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities. York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities: Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville. For more information, visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca
Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region