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Rachel's Challenge - Acts of Compassion, Respect and Kindness

Last Updated on Oct 14, 2015 at 9:27am | Public Information Office

Rachel’s Challenge is a program coming to Garrett County Public Schools in the fall designed to combat bullying and address feelings of isolation through the use of kindness and compassion in daily dealings.  The program’s empowering strategies, with a focus on respect and concern for others, grew from the tragedy of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.  Rachel is Rachel Joy Scott, the first Columbine student to be killed that April day when 12 students and one teacher were fatally shot by two students.  The program is based on the 17 year old’s writings and life. She was an advocate for kindness and compassion, a student who reached out to those new to the school and those who were picked on by others.  Thus, Rachel's Challenge is a movement inspiring students to replace violence, bullying, prejudice, and hate with acts of compassion, respect and kindness.
 
The overall program emphasis is not on the Columbine violence, nor how Rachel Scott died. The focus is on how Rachel Scott lived her life. The program includes five “challenges” for daily living including: look for the best in others; dream big; choose positive influences; speak with kindness; and tell others how you appreciate them.  Rachel Scott was not afraid to stand up for those who were bullied in school, those who were new at school, or those who acted, looked or dressed differently.
 
Rachel's life, including her poems, essays, and journals found after her death, has impacted millions of people since her family started the nonprofit, Rachel's Challenge. Today, students all over the world take the challenge and write acts of kindness on colored paper, link them together and create paper chains to symbolize their school's "chain reactions" of kindness and compassion. The movement has had a proven impact against bullying, student isolation, teen suicide, discrimination, and school violence.
 
On Monday, November 9, 2015, Rachel’s Challenge program will be introduced at an assembly for students in both high schools in the morning.  In the afternoon, Friends of Rachel’s (FOR) Clubs will be formed in the high schools.  Parents and community members are invited to attend an hour long Rachel’s Challenge presentation in the evening of November 9th beginning at 6:30 PM.  In the auditoriums of both Northern and Southern High Schools, representatives of Rachel’s Challenge will be on hand to introduce the program. 
 
Click here to view a short, 2 minute video entitled "An Inspirational Legacy - Rachel's Challenge"
 
Rachel’s Challenge is a non-profit organization and information can be found at www.rachelschallenge.org .