Friday, March 16, 2012

sign me up! (Rachel's Challenge)

I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same. 

Rachel Scott

I attended Rachel's Challenge with Strike at her high school last night and was moved to tears and motivated to action. Not sure just yet what form that action may take but for starters I spoke with the Principal immediately after the presentation and in so many words I said Sign me up and just tell me what to do....I want to be involved in this. 

Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Her acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation for one of the most life-changing school programs in America.

Rachel's Challenge attempts to minimize bullying and to change, for good, the culture within school communities by challenging students, administrators and parents to make positive/life changing commitments in five key areas:

- eliminate prejudice

- keep a journal/diary & set goals

- choose positive influences & role models

identify specific people that mean the world to them personally and show them, within the next week, how much they appreciate them.  

- start a chain reaction by doing random acts of kindness for others within their school and their community - especially for new students, physically/mentally challenged students & others who just don't quite "fit in" - and, in so doing, begin to leave a positive legacy behind.  

Recently new rules and regulations and even laws have been established in an attempt to deal with the ever growing issue of bullying. I'm encouraged by this social shift and the heightened awareness of bullying and its negative repercussions - tho' I believe the potential for meaningful change is minimal in light of these measures. However, if indeed the hearts of bullies - and those who witness bullying in silence - are motivated to change, well - in that case I see incredibly powerful potential for real and positive transformation of not only bullies and those guilty by association or inaction, but of entire school communities. 

I believe Rachel's Challenge possesses the potential to change hearts. Without being a quote unquote "religious" program, the character traits this challenge encourages students to embrace are those that Jesus taught and exemplified ... encouragement, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, courage, etc...

I am passionate about the issue of bullying in schools. We lived near the Springfield, OR school shooting when it took place and my brother's family lived in Littleton, CO at the time of the Columbine massacre - and, even closer to home, my own daughter, Playmaker, was a victim of bullying (as have been two of her friends). It's not something I've shared with many people - but I'm ready to share it here now with whoever will listen. Stay tuned for more of her story, in her own words. 

To view an informative video presentation that shares more about both Rachel's story and Rachel's Challenge, click HERE.

People will never know how far a little kindness can go. 

Rachel Scott

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