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Gaithersburg Focuses on Character in October

 “Celebrating CHARACTER COUNTS! in the Community and Through Service” is the theme of the City of Gaithersburg’s monthlong celebration in October.  CHARACTER COUNTS!, a national ethics program built upon the foundation of the six pillars of character, was adopted by the city in 1996, and has been infused in a variety of educational, recreational and community-based initiatives ever since.  The six pillars are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

“While we celebrate character all yearlong, it’s a pleasure to join with the CHARACTER COUNTS! coalition for a collective, nationwide celebration each October,” said Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz.  “Throughout the month we’ll be highlighting programs and activities that the community can participate in as we come together to reinforce our moral foundation.”

The City’s Community Services Division is coordinating a number of activities, several of which are listed below.  Application forms, deadlines and details for the youth contests and CHARACTER COUNTS! awards are available at, or 301.258.6395.


  • Contests.  October marks the launch of a poster contest for elementary school students, an essay contest for middle school students, and a photography contest for high school students.  Selections will be made early in 2014 and there will be a reception for the winners and their families.


  • Person/Business of Character Awards.  The city would like to recognize those individuals and businesses that demonstrate a commitment to character through their actions and deeds.  Nominate someone in October.  Winners will be honored on a perpetual plaque and recognized at a Mayor and City Council meeting.


  • Scholarships.  Each year the City awards high school seniors with CHARACTER COUNTS! scholarships to support their continuing education.  Donations are welcome.  At the Oct. 13 Oktoberfest at the Kentlands celebration, student volunteers will be hosting a pumpkin painting and mini-scarecrow making activity, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the fund.


  • Mall-o-ween at Lakeforest Mall.  Volunteers from Wells/Robertson House will be on hand to distribute CHARACTER COUNTS! trick-or-treat bags, bookmarks and information at the mall Oct. 26 from noon to 3 p.m.


  • Volunteer.  Service is critical to the success of any community.  Gaithersburg residents are encouraged to explore opportunities available through the Montgomery County Volunteer Center., 240.777.2600. “Days of Service” week is Oct. 20-27.  Projects and volunteers are sought.


  • Mental Health First Aid.  Gaithersburg is hosting a free mental health workshop for active military, veterans and their families Oct. 16 at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park.  This event is being held in conjunction with Serving Together and the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County.  Reservations are required.  301.424.0656.


  • Community Impact Drive.  Donate baby items, toiletries and school supplies to support area families and shelter programs at the Community Impact “3-n-1” Drive, hosted by the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Drop items off at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park through Oct. 12. For more information contact or call 240.491.0275.


  • Students Giving Back.  Members of the city of Gaithersburg High School Student Union will be joining with the Asbury Beloved Community initiative and the Jewish Council for the Aging on a variety of service projects, including tree plantings, intergenerational social activities and service at a local soup kitchen.


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