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The White House Conference on
Character and Community

Education opens the door to hope for all of America's children. Children want to experience the joy of helping others and they should learn, at an early age, that helping others is important amd makes the helpers feel good about themselves. Kindness and heroism can't always be drawn in a picture, but they can be taught in our classrooms, churches, clubs and other places where children gather.

The White House Conference on Character and Community offered an opportunity to share stories, experiences, and perspectives for the good of our country and our children.

Service rises from strong character; and strong character compels us to serve. We all have the responsibility to promote strong values. And we know that character education is important and can be effective.

Mrs. Bush believes the responsibility for building character rests on the shoulders of all Americans, and that our values will determine the future of America. She also believes in character education because she wants our children to understand that leadership, character, and service go hand in hand.

One goal of character education is to instill in our children the importance of community service. This can be achieved through our schools, faith-based organizations, and programs like the USA Freedom Corps. The White House Conference on Character and Community focused on community service to remind Americans that helping others gives purpose and meaning to our own lives.

President and Mrs. Bush believe that all Americans have a charge to keep, a responsibility to use our different gifts and to serve a cause greater than any one individual. There are many good programs around the country that show how values can be taught in a diverse nation and how we as individuals can give back to our communities.

For further information on how to join the volunteer network, contact the USA Freedom Corps:

The USA Freedom Corps
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone: 1-877-USA-CORPS

White House Conference on Character and Community, June, 19, 2002 Speakers:

William Damon, Ph.D., Director, Stanford Center on Adolescence, Professor of Education at Stanford University

Kenneth A. Dodge, Ph,D., William McDougell Professor of Public Policy Studies, Professor of Psychology, Social and Health Sciences at Duke University

Darcia F. Narvaez, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame

Eric Schaps, Ph.D., Founder and President, Developmental Studies Center
Community in School: Central to Character Formation and More

Lawrence J. Walker, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia

White House Conference on Character Summary of Proceedings (pdf)

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