Proclamation: National Character Counts Week, 2000 (10/14/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                            October 14, 2000

                   NATIONAL CHARACTER COUNTS WEEK, 2000

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                              A PROCLAMATION

     The term "character" is derived from an ancient Greek word meaning "to
inscribe," reflecting the conviction that character is not innate, but
rather is instilled through the influence, example, and guidance of the
people around us.  One of our greatest responsibilities as adults and
citizens, therefore, is to ensure that we teach our children, by word and
deed, the values that will help them develop into men and women of strong

     This vital endeavor begins with the family and particularly with
parents, who are their children's first teachers.  The process continues in
our schools -- not only in the classroom, but also in the hallways, in the
cafeteria, and on the playing field.  We have many opportunities to instill
in our children the elements of good character -- citizenship, fairness,
compassion, honesty, tolerance, and responsibility -- and it is up to every
citizen and organization to make the most of these opportunities.

     My Administration has strived to assist parents, caregivers, teachers,
and religious and community leaders in this vital effort.  We have worked
with the entertainment industry to increase educational programming on
television and to create a voluntary ratings system to help parents
reinforce the values they want to impart to their children.  And 4 years
ago, I was proud to sign legislation that requires new televisions sold in
our country to include the V-chip, a device that allows parents to control
the programs that their children watch on television.  Recognizing the
significant amount of time our children spend in school, we have also
created partnerships with States under the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act to assist school districts in developing curriculum
materials, providing teacher training, and integrating character education
into the curriculum.  We have
funded innovative after-school programs to offer young people mentors and
role models to inspire them and to engage them in productive activities at
the end of the school day.

     We have also promoted citizen service -- one of the greatest
character-building tools available to our society.  Through initiatives
such as America Reads, the Corporation for National and Community Service,
the National Senior Service Corps, the Peace Corps, and AmeriCorps,
Americans of every age, background, gender, and race are experiencing the
rewards of helping others, and in the process becoming more responsible
citizens.  We can also teach young Americans a vital lesson about character
by exercising our right to vote and participating in the democratic process
-- a process that Americans of notable character established more than two
centuries ago.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do

hereby proclaim October 15 through October 21, 2000, as National Character
Counts Week.  I call upon the people of the United States, government
officials, educators, religious, community, and business leaders to
commemorate this week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of
October, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of
the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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