At the core of the value system has been the family. When the family has been strong, our nation, our communities, our churches, our schools, our people have reaped the positive results. The Community of Values Program was organized in 1991 by Dr. Jerry Holifield, Superintendent of the Plainfield Community School Corporation. Plainfield Police Chief Jack Miller and several members of the community representing school affiliated organizations, religious organizations, youth serving agencies, businesses/local government, neighborhood/civic groups and athletic groups, were involved in putting the program in place. Their intention was to identify those values the people believed to be the most important, focus public attention on those values and encourage, motivate and challenge the community to model, communicate and emphasize these values for all.
The group developed 30 values and defined them in order to survey the public for the 12 most important values for the Town of Plainfield. A survey form was delivered to each household in the Town with instructions for families to sit down together and select the 12 values that were most important to them. Then the Survey Committee reviewed several thousand completed forms in March, 1992, and came up with the 12 values listed in the column to the right.
The message was then spread by the group through "Value of the Month" signs that were posted in almost every business, local government office, church, school classroom and library. An annual grade school rally is held with guest speakers promoting good values. Billboards are seen promoting the Community of Values organization and the values of the month. The local newspaper prints the values monthly and pictures the group or individual nominated that most exemplifies the value of the month. Lesson plans are taught in the grade schools that incorporate the value of the month. The group sets up a booth at special events and festivals to encourage family values with T-shirts, pins, bumper stickers, etc. Ed Whalen, a local businessman, and a group of others set out to display Community of Values banners in individual businesses, schools, municipal buildings and along the local streets of town.
"The Community of Values program has educated the public in the benefits of a strong values system," stated Chief Miller. As values are taught to our children and practiced with honesty and consistency, our children have accepted them as their own. Once the children accepted those values, they began to exemplify them in the way they treat others, the way they conduct their daily lives and the way they act when they are away from the family unit.
As a bi-product of the Community of Values Program, the group initiated another organization called Community Organizations Group (COG). This organization is made up of representatives of all of the civic, service, religious, and governmental organizations in Plainfield. This organization meets monthly and has been responsible for major projects within the community that would be otherwise impossible to accomplish due to limited resources of each individual organization. This also provides a unique forum for community information dissemination, which the Plainfield Police Department has utilized in promoting it's Community Policing efforts.
The Community of Values Organization has determined that adults and children need a clearly defined values system around which they can make decisions and structure their lives. They need to be able to discern what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad - not just to satisfy their needs but to benefit those with whom they come in contact. Thus we need to bring to the forefront a common set of values that can be accepted by a Community. Somehow we must find the time and the ingredients to help families to develop skills that incorporate a strong set of values. Our society has learned that many of it's problems are caused by a lack of proper values. We are now learning that issues can best be addressed through positive values. A community's values become a child's values. Parents must teach values; friends and relatives must nurture values; youth - serving organizations must reinforce values; churches must preach values; businesses must practice values; adults and other authoritative figures must model values; and schools must support the common value threads that run through each of the above.