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‘Rachel’s Challenge’ Monday in Monroeville

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Feb 21, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Monroeville Local Schools is bringing Rachel’s Challenge, a character education program, to the school and community.

Rachel’s Challenge is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion.

The programs are based on the writings and life of 17-year-old Rachel Scott, who was the first student killed in the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999. Rachel left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others, or who were new at her school.

Shortly before her death, she wrote, “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. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

Rachel’s Challenge was started by Rachel’s dad and stepmom, Darrell and Sandy Scott, when they realized that the writings and drawings Rachel left not only had an impact on her friends and classmates, but also resonated with students around the world.

The message has moved audiences to a new level of kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness, and understanding, and makes everyone aware of the scars of bullying.

Although Rachel was a typical teenager who even wrote about her “ups and downs,” she had a passion and conviction that she would someday change the world. The Scott family knew her story and passion had to be told to inspire others to make their world a better place.

More than 19 million people have been touched by Rachel’s message, and they continue the legacy of making a difference in their communities. Each year at least 2 million more people are added to that number.

Rachel’s Challenge includes two school presentations — one for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and the other for those in grades seven though 12 — as well as training for a “Friends of Rachel” Club that the school hopes to initiate, and an evening event where parents, community leaders and students come together to hear how Rachel’s story has impacted millions of people across the world.

The community event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the gymnasium.

For further information, contact Monroeville schools.

The program has had positive results in other communities. In one survey, 78 percent of students indicated they would definitely intervene in a bullying incident in their school after seeing Rachel’s Challenge. In the last three years, Rachel’s Challenge has received nearly 500 unsolicited emails from students stating that after hearing Rachel’s story they reached out for help as they were contemplating suicide. Some even state that “Rachel saved their life." For more information about Rachel's Challenge, visit www.rachelschallenge.org.

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