Youth Development


Bright Futures for Youth and Communities


The mission of Character Counts Mid Shore is to invest in our communities' youth through character education programming in order to brighten student futures, engage citizens of all ages, and sustain desirable communities.

Notes from the Nonprofit

Character Counts Mid Shore's (CCMS) Winners Walk Tall program provides trained volunteers known as Character Coaches. In partnership with the three public school systems, these volunteers are placed in classrooms where each week they deliver lessons based on the Six Pillars of Character - trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. CCMS receives NO funding from the school systems nor any form of government.
Recently, we have become partners with the City of Annapolis Police Department and the Anne Arundel County Police Departments who have adopted our program under our guidance and are visiting classrooms in their county.
In the 2017-2018 school year, over 8500 students are reached with character education lessons.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Ms. Lauren Weber

Main Address

108 Maryland Avenue, Suite 103

Easton, MD 21601 USA


Youth Development, Character Education, Character Development, Schools





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Character Counts Mid Shore, Inc. is a citizen-driven organization with proven, research-based program outcomes,* including increased academic achievement, decreased rates of poor behavior, and lowered rates of chronic school absenteeism. Our mission is to develop positive character in all aspects of students’ lives in order to prepare youth for productive futures and invest in the ongoing vitality of our local communities. *

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Winners Walk Tall Program

Laws of Life Essay Contest

A. James Clark Character Counts Citizenship Scholarship

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

The goals of Character Counts Mid Shore, Inc. are to: 1) Invest in the development of character and relevant, needed soft skills necessary to ensure that students are well prepared for productive adulthood; and 2) Contribute meaningfully to the development of the communities we call home, where character-full citizens of all ages join together to main desirable communities in which to live, work, and play.

To achieve our goals, Character Counts Mid Shore invests in a variety of programs (listed below) that we believe will deliver our mission in an effective, efficient manner. These programs include: 1) Winners Walk Tall: This program consists of a highly trained and motivated loyal corps of over 165 volunteers who meet individually with full classes of students in grades PreK – 12. We call these volunteers our Character Coaches. While teaching on a weekly or monthly basis in their assigned classrooms, coaches discuss and model ethical issues through relevant, age-appropriate lessons that center on both character and soft skille development. Each Character Coach tailors their lessons to the specific needs of the youth they serve in their assigned classrooms using stories, object lessons, and hands-on activities based on the Six Pillars of Character – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. In addition to instilling the importance of character, our Character Coaches become trusted adults in the lives of the youth they serve. CCMS equips our coaches with annual training and age-appropriate materials, in addition to a monthly newsletter called the “Coach’s Corner,” which is filled with lesson inspiration ideas and classroom strategies. 2) Laws of Life Essay Contest: This essay writing contest for middle and high school students allows youth to meaningfully reflect on the relevance and application of character lessons in their lives. The Laws of Life essay contest is a unique opportunity for students to combine persuasive writing skills, introspective reflection on their personal experiences, and self-expression on the topic of the place of character in their lives. We are grateful for the collaborative partnerships we have developed with the language arts leaders at the middle and high schools we serve, which makes possible the high level of integration this essay contest has within the English Language Arts curricula in the Mid Shore. In addition to being an opportunity for students, these essays provide CCMS with direct feedback regarding how the youth of the Mid Shore are interacting with and responding to their learnings on the Six Pillars of Character. The essays also provide the teachers with a better understanding of each student as an individual, that may not have been previously verbalized. Each year, over 1,000 essays are submitted and cash prizes are awarded to students and sponsoring teachers with the best essay from each school. A top $2,500 prize is awarded to the student with the best essay. 3) Scholarship Programs: CCMS administers a number of scholarship awards annually, which makes college and career/technical training possible for many students who would otherwise struggle to afford these crucial next steps in their lives. Scholarships include the Albert Kennerly Character Counts Laws of Life Scholarship and the A. James Clark Character Counts Citizenship Scholarships.

Character Counts Mid Shore is uniquely positioned to achieve our mission-driven goals. With over 20 years of program delivery in the area we serve (Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot Counties on Maryland's Eastern Shore), CCMS has a proven track record of consistently investing in our communties' youth populations. We have long partnered with each county's Board of Education, as well as the Maryland State Department of Education. In fact, in 2007, the Maryland State Department of Education studied the efficacy of Character Counts Mid Shore's Winners Walk Tall program. According to the report, schools with high fidelity to the implementation of our character education framework "had lower suspension and offender rates, higher attendance and promotion rates, lower dropout rates, and higher math and reading proficiency rates."* In addition to a long-standing record of public school "buy in" in the Character Counts model of character education, the business communities in the counties we serve have a high level of interest in our programming, as evidenced through both strong financial support and the ongoing allowance for employees to volunteer each week. * You can read the full report at

The key indicators of Character Counts Mid Shore's success are inclusive of the following metrics: 1) the public school rate of participation in Character Counts Mid Shore's Winners Walk Tall program; 2) the number of volunteer Character Coaches, who dedicate a significant amount of time in their voluntary role; 3) the financial sustainability of the organization, which indicates public support of our mission; 4) the organization's ability to consider new research and/or data on the matter of youth development and upward mobility and capacity to adapt for any changes that occur; and 5) new in 2020, the completion of a strategic planning process that will chart the strategic course of CCMS in the next five years.

For over 20 years, Character Counts Mid Shore has delivered on its mission. During that time period, CCMS has touched the lives of tens of thousands of students with our message that "character counts, to everyone, everywhere, at all times." Anecdotally, we have hundreds of stories of students who have applied their learnings in significant life moments to the betterment of their lives. We have been honored to have benefitted from the long-time leadership of Executive Director of Susan Luby. With her retirement in 2019, Character Counts Mid Shore finds itself at a pivotal moment in the life organization under the leadership of the organization's next Executive Director, Lauren Kay Weber. In 2020, CCMS' Board of Directors will engage in a strategic planning process that will engage the voices of as many stakeholders as possible: students, parents, volunteers, educators, community leaders, and more. The resulting outcome will be a five-year plan for the organization.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?