Photo provided by SANDRA MADERE -- Members of the Tangipahoa Volunteers for Family and Community Busy Bee’s recently visited North Tangi Head Start to read the Character Critters story Rusty the Respectful Raccoon. Students, from left, Jau’eon Chain, Chance Johnson, John Verdin, Londynn Daniels, Mia Clark, Derriva Hurst, all students at North Tangi Head Start; and second row, Volunteer Foster Grandmother Hazel Allen and Busy Bee members Terry Voight and Ruby Johnson.

Tangipahoa Volunteers for Family and Community Busy Bee’s, an all-volunteer arm of the LSU Extension Service, recently visited North Tangi Head Start to begin the new school year of Character Critters.

The enrichment program was developed by the LSU Extension Service and is based on the Josephson Institute’s Character Counts program. Each month, volunteers read to students about citizenship, responsibility, caring, trustworthiness, respect and fairness, a news release from TVFC said. The stories aim to reinforce what is being taught in the classroom.

The Josephson Institute is a national organization based in California. In 1987, its founder Michael Josephson, a former law professor and businessman, realized the lack of morality being taught within most school systems, the release said. He devised a series of stories and activities to bring messages to schoolchildren without being preachy or hard-handed. His program has spread throughout the United States and the world, helping to make society more honest, fair, caring and accountable, the release said.

In 1993, the third week of October was named National Character Counts week. Since then, the date has been set aside as a time to highlight character building education and the importance of modeling good character, the release said.

For information, call the LSU Extension office at (985) 748-5176.