Friday’s the deadline to sign Civility Pledge

March 24, 2012

Friday (March 30) is the deadline to sign the 2012 Civility Pledge, one of the ongoing projects of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.

Copies of the pledge are available to sign at the Frank Carlson Library, Concordia.  Signature sheets are also available to download; just CLICK HERE.

The Year of Peace Committee launched the community Civility Pledge drive in 2010, and 244 Concordians signed on. In 2011, that number grew to 300. Each year the Concordia Blade-Empire published a page of the signatures, which the newspaper will do again sometime in April.

The Civility Pledge says: “I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior, I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them and I will stand against incivility when I see it.”

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, who chairs the Year of Peace Committee, said the Civility Pledge is particularly important in this presidential election year.

“Civility means being respectful despite our differences of opinion,” she said. “We want to get the message out, and then encourage everyone to live that message: That all people must be treated with dignity and respect.”

Anyone who wants more information about the continuing Concordia Year of Peace or would like to be part of the committee may contact Sister Jean at 785/243-2149 or by email at sisterjean@csjkansas.org.

Lunch participants learn about anti-poverty ‘Circles’

February 23, 2012

An anti-poverty initiative that brings together struggling families and community mentors might be a way to help people in Concordia, those attending Thursday’s “working lunch” at the Nazareth Motherhouse learned.

• • • • • • •

Jennifer Stull, who works in the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Initiatives office, has been researching the national Circles Campaign, which to date has programs in 62 communities across 23 states. In Kansas, Stull said, there are Circles operating in Newton, Hutchinson and McPherson.

“This idea connects everything we’ve been talking about today,” Stull told the nearly 40 people attending the lunch, which was the 17th session in the Community Needs Forum, a process that started in the fall of 2008. The idea from the very first has been to bring together people from throughout Concordia to identify what participants see as the greatest needs in the community and then work to seek solutions.

From the start poverty has been a major concern. But, noted Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, attempts to tackle the issues surrounding poverty in Concordia have “sputtered” despite continued concern for people living in poverty.

Stull said that the Circles campaign is designed to recruit “people who are tired of living in poverty” and who are willing to “take a very tough look at their lives” in the intensive program. Those people are the Circle Leaders, who are then joined by Circle Allies — volunteers from middle-classes or higher-income families who mentor and support the Leaders as they set goals and work toward them.

Stull said one of the strengths of the Circles design is that while it recognizes the importance of the “safety net” of social services that exists for families living in poverty, the long-term goal is for families to no longer need those services.

Speaking to representatives from social service agencies attending the lunch, she said, “Your services are there to help people facing tough times, and the Circles help them change their lives so the times aren’t as tough.”

Stull said that the Sisters of St. Joseph are researching how the Circles work, especially in Newton, Kan., which has had the program in place for about two years. A contingent of sisters from Concordia plan a trip to Newton in the next week or so to learn more.

Stull said there are still many questions to be answered about how the program works, how participants are recruited and how it’s all funded.

She will present a more detailed report at the next working lunch on May 16.

There were also a variety of updates and announcements at Thursday’s lunch:

  •  Signature sheets for the 2012 Civility Pledge will be circulated beginning today. In each of the past two years, the Concordia Year of Peace Committee has collected signatures on the pledge for “civility in public discourse,” and has then published those signatures in space donated by the Concordia Blade-Empire. The deadline for turning in signatures is March 30, and the signature sheets are also available to download as a PDF. CLICK HERE to go to that site.
  •  On March 12, at 7 p.m., there will be free public presentation titled “Social Hosting 101,” which will look at the law and potential consequences of hosting parties where alcohol is served to underage drinkers. This is the first in a series titled “Alcohol and Drug Information 101,” which will be on the second Monday of each month and will cover a variety of topics about drug and alcohol use and abuse. Jim Kerr, a member of the Cloud County Chemical Dependency Committee that’s sponsoring the series, encouraged parents and young people to come and learn more. The free presentation will be at Cook Theatre at Cloud County Community College.
  •  There are still three plots available in the Concordia Community Garden of Hope, according to coordinator Cecilia Thrash, who works at Manna House of Prayer. The garden is on the northeast corner of the Motherhouse property and plots cost $13 to rent for the entire growing season. Weather permitting, the garden will open this year on March 15, Thrash said. For information or to sign up for a plot, call Manna House at 243-4428.
  •  The county extension office is again encouraging Concordians to take part in Walk Kansas, an eight-week team fitness program that begins March 18. Information is available at the extension office in the Cloud County Courthouse.
  •  The annual Nazareth Motherhouse Spaghetti Dinner is set for Sunday, March 25. Dinner will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., plus there will be prize drawings, live musical entertainment, grab bags, a bake sale and guided tours of the historic building. Tickets in advance are $8 for adults and $4 for children 5 to 12. (Kids 4 and younger eat free.) To reserve your tickets, call or email the sisters’ Development Office: eweddle@csjkansas.org or 243-2113, ext. 1223.
  •  There’s a Cancer Support Group that meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Motherhouse, and Jane Wahlmeier encouraged those attending the working lunch to spread the word about the group. It’s open to any cancer patients and cancer survivors, their family members and their caregivers. For information on the group, call Wahlmeier at 243-2113, ext. 1101.

 

 

It’s time again to pledge to be civil!

February 23, 2012

THE 2012 CIVILITY PLEDGE signature drive officially begins today (Feb. 23) — and if you want to join the effort for a more civil community, you can download signature forms here. For a form for your group to sign (it has room for 18 signatures), CLICK HERE. For if you just need a form for your own signature, CLICK HERE. And feel free to make as many copies as you need!

This is the third year the Concordia Year of Peace Committee has asked people throughout the community to sign the Civility Pledge — and like the past two years, the Concordia Blade-Empire has agreed to donate a full page to publish the signatures.

Signatures must be returned by March 30 to Bob Steimel, PO Box 213, Concordia KS 66901.

Feb. 17, 2012: Civility Pledge helps us all build harmony, by Holly Boley and Will Strommen

February 17, 2012

“Civility costs nothing, and buys everything,” Mary Wortley Montagu said.

We both believe in that quote. To us it means that just a simple act of civil behavior can get you far in life. Once again the Concordia Year of Peace Committee is asking everyone in the community to join together to promote civility in public discourse and behavior.

The first challenge in the Civility Pledge is, “I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.” This truly boils down to just doing the right thing. If there is any thought in your mind that would lead you to believe an action is wrong, chances are it is. Remember though, “Sometimes the right thing and the hard thing are the same thing.”

The second challenge is to be respectful of others whether or not you agree. It is human nature to have your own opinion. How we portray that opinion is a direct line to a person’s character. Now don’t get us wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a healthy debate. But, at the end of the day, you will have to accept the fact not everyone is the same.

The final challenge is to stand against incivility when you see it. As members of the school’s Friends of Rachel club, this is our motto.

Whether or not you, personally, have experienced bullying, it is a part of everyday life no matter how old you are. When walking through our halls, we occasionally see bullying but we have also seen students stand up to the bully. Due to anti-bullying speakers and clubs, our school has seen improvement but we still have some ways to go in this area. Even though standing up to a bully is very difficult to do, we feel it is a skill all students and adults in the community need to strengthen.

The Year of Peace and the Civility Pledge is a great way to make people aware of the problems in our community and ways to promote civility. This will help make Concordia and Cloud County residents have better relationships and harmony. We hope you will all sign it!

(Copies of the Civility Pledge will be available to sign at Frank Carlson Library, or you can download a copy for yourself at www.csjkansas.org/year-of-peace/)

— Will Strommen is a junior at Concordia High School and is the son of David and Anita Strommen.  Holly Boley is a senior at Concordia High School and is the daughter of Mark and Connie Boley.