Character Counts
Staff Sgt. Walter Stanley, a radiology supervisor at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, left, and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shay Smalls, right, of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, explain the character trait "Caring" to Fort Belvoir Elementary School students March 20.

Fort Belvoir, Va. (March 27, 2014) - An African proverb says "It takes a village to raise a child."

Nildy Eiley, Fort Belvoir Army and Air Force Exchange Service general manager agrees - which is why she joined in this month's Character Counts discussion at Fort Belvoir Elementary School, March 20.

"We're part of the community, so well all need to come out and join the Soldiers to do this," she said. "I believe it takes all of us together to show and to model behaviors to our children and to our community so that we can make it better."

Eiley spoke to the fourth grade class of Amy Germano and Lourdes Pinedo about this month's trait - Caring - and told them about a "gift" her mother gave her as a child -- the advice to get to know others before judging them.

"At this grade level, where they have a lot of influence, we need to talk to them about these topics. I think it's a great program," she said. "I would like to continue to be a part of it."

The Character Counts program is a partnership between the school and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir Headquarters Battalion. Once a month from November to April, Fort Belvoir servicemembers in all branches and community civilians talk with FBES students about one of six character traits: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

The conversations have a strong impact on the students, said Germano.

"I think it's important that they are talking about social skills," she said. "It's important that they know how to go out in the real world and … communicate and use these types of things here in the classroom and outside the classroom."

After Eiley talked to her class, Nijah Miller, 10, said she had a better idea of what it means to be caring.

"Caring for another person can also be good for you because someone's going to come and help you," she said.

David Morgan, 10, said acts of caring can have big effects.

"(It) would be better for the world if everybody was nicer," he said. "If you (are) nicer to people, they might be nicer to you."

Character Counts is the largest character education program in the nation, and is based on the Josephson Institute's Six Pillars of Character.

Next month's Character Counts discussion on Citizenship will be April 17 at FBES.

To join the discussion, email Command Sgt. Maj. Carolyn Reynolds, USAG Fort Belvoir Headquarters Battalion, at

For more information, visit

Page last updated Fri March 28th, 2014 at 10:45