“The program of Character Solutions International (CSI) presents a practical answer to the needs of a new stage for Bolivian education. It also promotes the integration of teaching character without adding a separate subject.
“Actually a pilot project is developing at the little city of La Guardia, located 16 kilometers west to the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. In an agreement with the local government 150 teachers of the schools are being trained with the material of CSI, and the results are sincerely encouraging. The education authorities of the city are happy with the program, the teachers are motivated and the students are involved creatively with the challenge of developing their character.
“Definitively, in a scenery of economic sub-development, with a post-modernist philosophy invading the minds of children and teenagers through the mass media and the growing intentions of the governments of producing changes in the educational systems, there are huge opportunities for the near future. At this moment, Latin America is a propitious place for the teaching of character at schools.” -CSI Presenter, Bolivia
“I’ve been working at this school for 18 years and never before have I experienced any student tell me, ‘Teacher, you did a mistake with my grades. You gave me more that I answered in the exam. Please review. I not deserve it.’ That’s integrity, and I am encouraged to continue teaching this [CSI] program.” -Bolivian teacher
"At the end of the seminar, the Director of the Educational District of La Guardia thanked thoroughly to Character Solutions, mentioning that our material matched their needs. She also encouraged the teachers to share with those that were not present at the seminars, not only the material but rather also the principles that were taught." -CSI Presenter, Bolivia
- January 22-31, 2009 CSI seminars presented at in Bolivia to 262 educators at Cristo Rey School, Bautista Boliviano Brasileño School, Sinai School, Isabel Saavedra School, and Peniel School.
- February 16, 2008 CSI seminar presented to 65 teachers and 14 assistants at Isabel Saavedra School. Conversations began over the idea to present the importance of character cultivation to the parents.
- January 30-31, 2008 CSI seminar presented to 20 teachers at Sinai Evangelical School.
- January 21-22, 2008 CSI seminar presented to 31 teachers at the Bolivian-Brasilian Baptist School.
- September 29, 2007 CSI’s Courage Teacher’s Guide presented to 77 teachers and principals in La Guardia, Bolivia.
- September 15, 2007 CSI’s Humility Teacher’s Guide presented to 64 teachers and principals in La Guardia, Bolivia.
- September 8, 2007 CSI’s Diligence Teacher’s Guide presented to 82 teachers and principals in La Guardia, Bolivia.
- September 1, 2007 CSI’s Kindness Teacher’s Guide presented to 75 teachers and principals in La Guardia, Bolivia.
- August 2007 CSI materials presented to 13 principals at the monthly meeting of the Association of Chrisitian Schools of Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
- April 7, 2007 CSI seminar presented to 70 educators, administrators, and parents at El Proyecto “La Palmera” (The Palm Tree Project), a 400-student public school in Trinidad, Bolivia.
- October 28, 2006 CSI’s Loyalty Teacher’s Guide presented to 69 teachers and principals in La Guardia, Bolivia.
- August 31-September 1, 2006 CSI seminar and Integrity Teacher’s Guide presented to 63 teachers and principals in La Guardia, Bolivia.
In April 2008, Indian community leaders requested CSI training for youth and adults across the country, a three-year project. This prompted the translation of Character Solution International curriculum into fourteen Indian languages to be used and distributed at seminars. The expected outcome of this project is one million leaders trained and challenged to cultivate character and to build healing relationships within communities.
"Cultivating Character book is one of the great resources for anyone who is willing to live a life with a right direction and purpose...character is always an issue in everyone's life. Very often people do not have a proper compass that guides them to develop such qualities in life, and hence have disastrous results. I would like to impart the same in the community where I live." (Seminar participant)
"This is very much to change the life style and attititude of people. It challanges them to positive thinking and to care for others. I believe this training will touch many lives because I myself have been blessed by examining my own life. Before I teach others I need to implement these virtues in my own life." (Seminar participant)
- February 28, 2009 CSI presented to 42 educators at the Ryan Institute of Mumbai, India. This school district services about 200,000 children.
- February 27, 2009 CSI presented to 31 fireman at the Fire Service Academy in Bangalore.
- September-December 2008 CSI training imparted to 4,913 community leaders and 147,375 volunteers in India.
- September 1-8, 2008 CSI presented seminars to over 1,200 Indian community leaders in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
- April 8, 2008 CSI presented to staff members of the Bangalore Police Department responsible for helping women and children in distress.
- Telugu (ready for print February 20, 2009)
- Assamese (ready for print February 17, 2009)
- Kannada (ready for print February 15, 2009)
- Marathi (ready for print January 25, 2009)
- Oriya (ready for print January 20, 2009)
- Tamil (ready for print January 10, 2009)
- Bengali (ready for print January 10, 2009)
- Malayalam (ready for print January 5, 2009)
- Gujarati (ready for print January 4, 2009)
- Hindi (ready for print December 29, 2008)
“My heartfelt thanks goes to Character Solutions for the great work you are doing with our students. Not only did we receive great reviews from the students participating in the courses, but I have personally seen a difference in the lives of students who participated in them.
“We can heartily recommend CSI training and materials because of the impact it has had on our students and in the ministries they are responsible for. It has helped effectively address what we feel is one of the biggest voids in the lives of students growing up in the Middle East, that of character development. Participants not only develop in their understanding and application of essential character issues, but they also learn how to effectively pass on what they have learned in formal and non-formal ways.
“Character development is at the heart of any true endeavor of education for any age level. Unfortunately, it is most conspicuous by its absence in many published materials today. Thanks CSI for filling this gap with the training and materials you provide.”
- David M., Assistant Academic Dean of JETS, Jordan
- July 13-Aug. 1, 2006 Skip and Jan Garmo taught CSI materials in a one week class entitled “Character in Leadership and Education” at the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS) in Amman, Jordan. There were 12 students from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and southern Sudan. Skip and Jan also met with two teachers from the Whitman Academy in Amman. They are very interested in CSI in the future. They have 12-15 teachers on staff and the school is for grades 1-12. All the students have to be foreign passport holders.
“In the year 1822 a weary group of seasick travelers survived their eastward journey across the Atlantic Ocean from North America and established a small settlement on a tiny, tropical island along the Atlantic coast of Western Africa. Populated by freed slaves from the United States, that settlement was the seed that grew in 1847 to become the Republic of Liberia—Africa’s first republic—whose name means “Land of the Free.” With just over 3 million people, Liberia’s population is similar to that of Montreal in Canada. Its area of 111,370 square kilometers is comparable to the state of Tennessee.
“Three prolonged and violent civil power struggles between 1980 and 2003 reversed decades of progress. Conflicts and carnage devastated the country, causing many Liberians to flee their “Land of the Free.” So decimated was its infrastructure that basic services such as water and electricity are still unreliable. The median age in Liberia today is 18. The life expectancy at birth is 38 years for men and 41 years for women.
“But a new day is dawning for Liberia. The nation again made history in 2005 by electing Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as President. She is the first elected female head of state in Africa. In January I had the privilege of presenting the Mission To Children’s character education program, Character Solutions, to the President and her Cabinet. Their genuine interest and warm response led the President to extend our time so that all Cabinet members could ask questions and make comments.
“One Cabinet minister insisted that we make that same presentation at a conference of 290 people the following Saturday. These people work with youth in 63 communities—about 14,500 children. We did so, and their enthusiasm for our program matched that of the President’s Cabinet, giving our future ministry strong support at the highest level of government and the most grassroots level of service.”
-Dr. Skip Garmo, President, CSI
This past Febraury 2009, Mr. Sam Hare, Deputy Minister for Youth Development (MYS) made some remarks on the relationship between Character Solutions, REAP, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports: “Our MYS relationship with CSI and REAP is crucial. We need these new approaches to make the differences, the changes, that are necessary.” Minister Hare spoke enthusiastically about the teamwork of MYS/REAP/CSI that made this week of training possible and about the significant impact it can have on Liberia's youth. He also presented “three Cs” that are important in the new Liberia: competence, character, and contribution. "Contribution" means serving our communities rather than sitting on the sidelines and expecting others to do all the work.
Character Solutions International play a role to fulfill REAP's strategic objectives.
- February 21, 2009 CSI presented to 116 Liberian street children. Team facilitators included youth workers from all over Liberia
- August 14, 2007 Dr. Garmo presented CSI materials to 69 orphans and caregivers from various orphanages around Monrovia, Liberia.
- August 15, 2007 Dr. Garmo presented CSI to 69 student council leaders from private and public schools around Monrovia, Liberia.
- August 16, 2007 Dr. Garmo presented CSI to 37 youth organizational and community leaders.
- August 17, 2007 Dr. Garmo presented CSI to 25 university professors.
- August 18, 2007 Dr. Garmo presented CSI to 31 religious professionals.
- January 22-27, 2007 Dr. Garmo went to Liberia January 22-27, 2007 and 450-478 participants were impacted including: educators, church leaders, orphan care givers, community leaders, instructors at the National Police Academy, instructors of the military, staff of the National Immigration, the entire staff of the NCDDRR, and 290 community youth leaders.
- Monday, January 22nd—CSI Presentation to Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia Dr. Garmo presented an hour-long CSI overview to the President, the Cabinet, the Vice President, and heads or representatives of several other ministry divisions or NGO’s including the Ministry of Education. The entire session was filmed by a company doing a documentary on the president’s first year in office.
- Tuesday, January 23rd—CSI Seminar The Deputy Minister of Education made opening remarks to about 45 people and spoke very highly of the CSI program and the importance of good character. She had attended the CSI presentation on Monday.
- Wednesday, January 24th—CSI Seminar This group included the head of an association of about 40 orphanages who was very interested in what CSI is doing. He may take a leadership role in implementing CSI in these orphanages. 54 people attended.
- Friday, January 26th—CSI Seminar This seminar was held at the center for retraining and rehabilitating child soldiers (NCDDRR). In Liberia they are dealing with around 100,000 kids (or now adults) who have been child soldiers in the past and need to be retrained to reenter society. The entire staff of the DDRR attended. About 10 members of the National Police Academy also attended. 44 people attended the seminar.
- Saturday, January 27th—CSI Seminar Dr. Garmo presented a CSI overview to a group of more than 290 youth workers from 63 communities in/near Monrovia who work directly with the youth of Liberia. Each of the 290 influence about 50 youth, reaching 14,500—including the two-thirds of Liberian children who do not attend school.
“It is my duty to let you know that we were all (staff and seminar participants) overwhelmed by your visit and its content. We still continue to have good response from your seminar.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your invaluable contribution to Lithuania's moral growth. During the meeting at the President's Office I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy because we (you, Pointman, our other consultants from the eastern coast of the US and our own organization) have done more than the rest of the education system of Lithuania. Sad because of the same reason. Nevertheless, we will continue our work because we know that ‘if not us, then who? If not now, then when?’”
- Virginija, Lithuania
The goal of our coordinator in Lithuania is to “change the character of the nation of Lithuania.”
November 21, 2008 Presented at the Leadership Seminar at LCC, International University. Topic: Corruption.
April 5-6, 2007 Skip and Jan met with faculty and administration at Lithuanian Christian College regarding potential partnership in Lithuania.
April 2-4, 2007 CSI seminar presented to 61 educators in Panevezys, Lithuania.
August 17-Sept. 7, 2005 Skip and Jan Garmo and Tom and Jean Reimer team-taught CSI for 3 days. The first afternoon of classes they met with the major and the school superintendent of Panevezys. On Wednesday through Friday between 47 and 57 teachers came to the CSI seminar. It was evenly divided between primary and secondary teachers.
“I can state the fact that my students have visibly changed for the better since we started this program: they pay more attention at the lessons, are more inclined to listen, more generous with their colleagues, more sincere and tolerant.”
-Georgeta, Teacher, Romania
- October 17-18, 2007 Dr. and Mrs. Garmo presented CSI to 90 staff and teachers in Arad, Romania
- October 19, 2007 Dr. Garmo participated in a round table discussion on Character Education in Romania which was aired on public television.
- October 20, 2007 Dr. Garmo presented CSI information to 100 parents at City Hall in Arad, Romania.
- October 22-30, 2007 Dr. and Mrs. Garmo presented 3 seminars to an estimated 100 orphanage workers from various orphanages around Bucharest, Romania.
- July 11-12, 2007 CSI presented to primary and secondary educators as well as principals and parents in Moneasa, Romania.
- May 11-23, 2006 Skip and Jan met with the A-team (the first set of teachers that went through character training in 2003) in Arad, Romania the first day to give a refresher course and let them know some of the highlights of our new CSI program. Attendees received Integrity and Loyalty Teacher’s Guides. Skip and Jan presented CSI materials to 24 participants in Arad, Romania,Tuesday through Friday from 4-7 PM.
- July 11-15, 2005 Our CSI seminar was part of the 13th annual Summer Boyea Academy in Miercurea Ciuc, Romania. There are over 13,000 Hungarian educators in Romania who teach in Hungarian-speaking schools. This summer academy for Hungarian-speaking teachers is the most important conference for Hungarian educators. It is sponsored by the Hungarian government and is held during July in seven different locations. Teachers came from the Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Montenegro, and Romania. We had 25 Hungarian teachers.
“The great challenge in the South African education environment is not only the establishment of a school structure that is fair and providing equal opportunities for all the learners in our country, but also the development of character in the lives of it's children. To rectify the inequalities of the past in the education environment, will take some time and dedication.
“There are approximately 33,000 schools in South Africa of which about 90% are struggling with the provision of proper infrastructure and funds. Although all these schools perceive character building as very important, the struggle to just meet the basic needs of education is the first priority on their agenda.
“Character Solutions (South Africa) started in 2005 to provide a service to the schools to help with the implementation of a character-building program to add value to the lives of the learners. The schools where we were able to do the training and help with the implementation of the program give very positive feedback of the results so far.
“We are very positive about the future of this process. Wherever we introduce the program to schools, it is met with optimism and an eagerness to implement it.”
-Quintus Smit, CSI presenter, South Africa
- February 26-March 9, 2007 Dr. Garmo met with two groups of potential candidates of CSI trainers in S.A. Dr. Garmo, with our South Africa partner, was approached by a major publisher who is very interested in combining the 10 Teachers’ Guides into a book and making it available to parents and teachers throughout the country.
- August 24, 2006 CSI seminar presented to 25 teachers at Cradock High School in Cradock, South Africa.
- June 2, 2006 CSI seminar presented to 35 teachers at Thabatshwane Primary in Pretoria, South Africa.
- May 5, 2006 CSI seminar presented to 68 teachers and psychologists at Jan Kriel School (School for children with epilepsy) in Cape Town, South Africa.
- April 20, 2006 CSI seminar presented to 25 teachers at Gill College in Somerset-East, South Africa.
- January 16, 2006 CSI seminar presented to 55 teachers at Bergland Primary in Nelspruit, South Africa.
- January 14, 2006 CSI seminar presented to 45 teachers at Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool (2nd training) in Pretoria, South Africa.
- January 12, 2006 CSI seminar presented to 60 teachers at Nelspruit High School in Nelspruit, South Africa.
- December 2, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 55 teachers at Bergvlam High School in Nelspruit, South Africa.
- November 28, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 40 teachers at Duvha Primary in Duvha, South Africa.
- November 22, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 50 teachers at Newcastle High School in Newcastle, South Africa.
- November 14, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 65 teachers and psychologists at Alta du Toit School (School for mentally challenged children) in Cape Town, South Africa.
- November 9, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 50 teachers at Delmas Primary in Delmas, South Africa.
- October, 25, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 55 teachers at Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool in Pretoria, South Africa.
- June 10, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 50 teachers at Rapportryer Primary in Randfontein, South Africa.
- June 7, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 55 teachers at Afrikaanse Hoër Meiseskool in Pretoria, South Africa.
- June 2, 2005 CSI seminar presented to 35 teachers and psychologists at ADASA (School for attention deficiency and hyper active children) in Pretoria, South Africa.
- 81% of public schools in the U.S. experienced one or more violent incidents in the 2003–04 school year.
- 34% of principals at schools with 1,000 or more students reported student acts of disrespect for teachers at least once per week.
- 24% of students reported the presence of gangs in their schools in 2005.
- In 2005, 25% of all students in grades 9–12 reported that someone had offered, sold, or given them an illegal drug on school property in the past 12 months.
- 11% of students ages 12–18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them, and 38% had seen hate-related graffiti at school in 2005.
- In 2005, 28% of students ages 12–18 reported having been bullied at school during the last 6 months.
*Statistics from Indicators of School Crime and Safety an annual publications produced jointly by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the U.S. Department of Justice.
- June 3, 2009 CSI seminar provided to 30 Middle school teachers and administrators for one all-day seminar at Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Participants included the leadership team from a local camp and a dedicated social worker who serves prisoners at local correctional facilities. He sees a critical need to encourage the families of the prisoners through character.
- May 10-11, 2007 CSI seminar presented to 15 students at Fremont High School in Los Angeles, California, USA.
- March 12-16, 2007 CSI seminar presented to 14 students at Fremont High School in Los Angeles, California, USA.
- June 30, 2006 CSI seminar presented to 11 teachers and tutors from the Coalition to Improve Education in Murrieta, California, USA.