Opelika Character Week Slated for April 3 through 7

The Opelika Character Council March 21 received a proclamation from Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and the Opelika City Council proclaiming the week of April 3 through 7 as Character Week. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO



Envision Opelika’s Character Council is on a mission to inspire citizens to live by the qualities of good character.

These qualities include things such as: loyalty, honor, sincerity, integrity, gratitude, resilience, benevolence, courage, tenacity, justice and humility.

The latest undertaking by the Character Council is Character Week, slated for April 3 through 7. While the group has in the past done “Character trait of the month” promotions, according to chairman of the Character Council Tom Tippett, this Character Week is completely new.

“Barbara Patton traveled to Oklahoma City because there was an organization out there encouraging citizens to promote character in their cities,” Tippet said. “She came back — and she was mayor at that time — and got a group of citizens together to say let’s try to do this. The idea is that.”

According to the group’s Facebook page, Character Week aims to make citizens think: 1) How do you demonstrate traits such as courage, discipline, compassion and dedication in your daily life? And 2) How do you teach children the attributes of positive character? It also challenges you to be kind. To assist in getting the community engaging with these questions and calls to action, Envision Opelika has set up a Character Council Family Activities for Trait of the Month tab on its website which provides activities that promote good character to the user.

“It’s family-centered, universal things you can do for character,” Tippett said. “We want to emphasize character.”

The Opelika Character Council is an all-volunteer team of concerned citizens committed to promoting monthly character traits throughout the city and school system. Originally the Envision Opelika Race Relations/Cultural Diversity Task Force, the goal of the organization was to create racial harmony that enhances all aspects of life. Opelika Character Council’s continuing goals include improving quality of life for all people, building character among citizens, eliminating negative results of discrimination within minority groups, bringing together factions and creating awareness in schools.

The Opelika Character Council operates under the umbrella that is the nonprofit Envision Opelika, started in 2001. Envision essentially operates as a consolidation of representation for the citizen’s desires for the city. Tippett’s role as the executive director of Envision dictates that he promote the work of the foundation.

“That involves public relations, staying in contact with the entities and seeing how healthy they are,” Tippett said. “We want to report to the board the different entities of the foundation.”

Alongside the Character Council, a number of other entities like Circles Opelika, O Grows, Creekline Trails, Southside Center for the Arts, the Front Porch Initiative, Opelika First Class Pre-K Academy and worthy2, receive the support of Envision.

“We are very privileged to be able to … I’m not sure the word ‘sponsor’ is right …. we’re like an umbrella and the nonprofits benefit by our 501(c) nonprofit status,” Tippett said. “We encourage them at some point to seek their own nonprofit status. In the interim, they can stay with us. Some have been with us for quite a while. We can take new ones anytime.”

Since its inception, Envision has played a large role in many of the noticeable improvements to life in Opelika.

“When Envision started, we had a big fair downtown,” Tippett said. “People could come down and you say we need to work on this or that. You saw where people really thought the needs of the community were.”

The organization has worked tirelessly over the years to field concerns from citizens and help get the ball rolling on projects to improve the city.

“I think investors saw that the citizens were going to be involved in the revitalization of the community and they made the investment,” Tippett said. “It’s citizen-driven.”

Some of undertakings include the Opelika SportsPlex, Miracle Field, renovating empty buildings like the Southside Center for the Arts, downtown revitalization and the creation of a new Pre-K schooling option.

“One of the more ambitious projects that we have done is the Pre-K Academy,” Tippett said. “The city has worked great with us on that. The school system just decided that they don’t have the space or finances for a Pre-K school. We were fortunate … got a teacher, got a staff.  … The state is funding millions of dollars every year for Pre-K programs all over Alabama, realizing that early education is critical to the future education of children. And 4-year-olds is a great place to start.”

Envision Opelika produces an annual report of its business dealings and community-improvement efforts each year. It can be found on the “About Us” tab on its website. For more information about the Character Council or Envision as a whole, visit envisionopelika.org.


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