What is an active citizen?

An active citizen is someone who cares about their community. 

This can be done in a number of ways and may involve some form of volunteering. 

Being an active citizen is what you make of it! It can involve just a couple of hours a week taking an elderly person shopping, donating food or clothing to help someone in need, or it can be taking the lead to make your neighborhood a cleaner, safer environment for everybody to enjoy. 

Being an active citizen means making a difference. All you need is a desire to see your community change or improve and lots of enthusiasm. It also means learning about the candidates running for public office and encouraging others to vote. 

What does citizenship mean? 

Being responsible and respectful to people, animals, and the environment. 

Caring about your community and country. 

Being informed about the needs of your school and community. 

Doing your best to make your home, school, and community a better place. 

Why is citizenship important? 

We need good citizens to make our school and community better for everyone. It is our duty and obligation as American citizens to do our part. 

When you think Citizenship:

  • Do your share to make your school and community better 
  • Cooperate
  • Get involved in community affairs 
  • Stay informed and vote
  • Be a good neighbor
  • Obey laws and rules
  • Respect authority
  • Protect the environment
  • Volunteer


Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it. - Martha Gellhorn 

There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship. - Ralph Nadar

Citizenship is no light trifle to be jeopardized any moment Congress decides to do so under the name of one of its general or implied grants of power. - Hugo Black 

The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight. - Theodore Roosevelt 

 Monthly Character Focus:

  • November – Trustworthiness 
  • December – Respect 
  • January – Responsibility
  • February – Fairness 
  • March – Caring
  • April – Citizenship
  • May – Ethical Decision Making

Daily Pillar Focus

Not only do we focus on the trait of the month, but we also celebrate character every day:

  • Monday – Trustworthiness
  • Tuesday – Respect
  • Wednesday – Responsibility
  • Thursday – Fairness
  • Friday – Caring
  • Saturday and Sunday – Citizenship

 Monthly Calendar

Leatha Roland for North Middle School has created a monthly school calendar with a quote every day, download it here.

 Character Pledge

If you like to read the CHARACTER COUNTS! Pledge over the PA system in the mornings here is a link to the pledge for download


Rapid City character education provides youth a framework for ethical living based on basic values:

TRUSTWORTHINESS: Be honest • Don’t deceive, cheat or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends and country.

RESPECT: Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.

RESPONSIBILITY: Do what you are supposed to do • Preserve: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your choices.

FAIRNESS: Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to other • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly.

CARING: Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Express gratitude • Forgive others • Help people in need.

CITIZENSHIP: Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment.

Simply put, CHARACTER COUNTS! helps kids make better choices, making everyone’s life better.


"The results have been outstanding. We've realized a 60% reduction in behavior incidents on living units and a 47% reduction in negative behavioral incidents in our academic setting. Additionally, our human resource director reports staff retention is the highest it has been in 15 years!"
Carrie Oakey, Educator
Stevens High School, Rapid City, SD

Who Makes this Happen

Rapid City CHARACTER COUNTS! invites involvement on several different levels. We greatly appreciate the volunteers and partners who provide an example for the next generation by participating in CHARACTER COUNTS! If you are interested in volunteering or becoming a partner, contact Wes Brown, Program Director for more information.


“I commend Kids Voting South Dakota...and thank the educators, school administrators and sponsors for their commitment to Kids Voting. It is important for young people to realize the importance of the voting process...and I challenge the young people to actively participate in the democratic process by voting, by encouraging their parents, grandparents and friends to vote, and by working for the candidates and on issues of their choice.”
Tim Johnson, Former US Senator
South Dakota

Member Resources

Kids Voting Activities