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Provo group issues a call for civility

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With so many new influences in today's society and with growth rampant, many Provo residents believe the quality of life they now enjoy in the community could drastically deteriorate.

To stop the decline, they believe residents must unite in common causes to preserve values and freedom. To make this happen, a grassroots movement is under way called Neighbors Uniting Provo.The movement hopes to get residents involved at the individual and neighborhood level to prevent the decline in civility affecting communities across the nation. By finding commonness and eliminating differences, the group hopes residents will unite, renew and preserve the city.

"If the city is going to reunite, then it is up to us," Chairwoman Mary Kay Grow said.

The group's main concept is that any effort to preserve and unite begins at the individual level, then spreads to the neighborhood and community level. To incorporate these concepts, the group hopes to use the tools of Stephen R. Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Those involved in the movement say Covey's concepts will help people become more productive, responsible, caring and competent residents.

The Covey Leadership Center has agreed to provide the training to residents of Provo and those working in Provo for $67, the costs of materials only. Over the next few years, the training will be offered through neighborhood groups established according to boundaries of the city's 12 elementary schools.

At a town meeting Wednesday at Provo High School attended by several hundred people, Provo Mayor George Stewart, Gov. Mike Leavitt and Covey invited all residents to join the cause.

"Our society, ladies and gentlemen, needs to be rescued," Stewart told those attending the meeting.

The mayor said Provo has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation and is recognized as a great place to live and raise a family because its residents are hard working and have high ethics. But to maintain the qualities and freedoms now enjoyed, Stewart said residents must exhibit virtue and character.

Leavitt said there's a stirring sense among people in this country that government is not getting the job done. Yet, many people lean on government for security. The governor said that through all his years of public service, the most resounding lesson he has learned is that great government does not make great communities, but great communities are made by great people. He said the greatness begins on the individual level.

"The best way for us to change the world is for us to change ourselves," Leavitt said.

Covey said everyone has the principles of virtue and character in their hearts needed to secure and preserve freedom. Through individual sacrifice and responsibility, these principles can be spread from the individual level to the family level, then neighborhood and community. Covey said eventually the city could show the rest of the nation by example how to preserve freedom through virtue, personal sacrifice and responsibility.

"This community could become a model and a mentor," he said.

More information about Neighbors Uniting Provo is available by contacting Steve Hall at 374-4802.