MEIGS COUNTY — With so many negative things taking place in today’s society, one program is working to replace the negativity with acts of respect, kindness and compassion.
Rachel’s Challenge is a program which reaches out to students and community members to “Start a Chain Reaction” of replacing the acts of violence, bullying and negativity with the positive.
The program will be presented to students in the Meigs, Eastern and Southern school districts in early November.
Students from kindergarten to 12th grade will have the opportunity to hear the presentation at school during the week of Nov. 4. A presentation for younger students will focus on compassion and kindness, while the assembly for older students will discuss Rachel Scott and the Columbine shooting.
Following the presentation at each of the schools, 100 students will be selected for the “Friends of Rachel Club.” These students and some teachers will go through a separate training following the group assembly.
A community event will be held at each of the three high schools in addition to the events.
Community events are set for Nov. 5 at Eastern High School, Nov. 6 at Southern High School, and Nov. 7 at Meigs High School.
Each event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is open to anyone who would like to attend.
Community events are free and open to anyone who would like to attend, not just those in the district hosting the event.
Meigs Middle School Assistant Principal David Deem, who was instrumental in the organizing of the program events for the area, stated that one of the main messages in to “start a chain reaction.” Deem added that one action can create a chain reaction leading to others. Deem encouraged those in the schools and the community as a whole to put aside the negative for one week and to focus on the good as this program will present.
Rachel’s Challenge was founded by Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Joy Scott who was the first victim of the Columbine school shooting in 1999.
Using the example of Rachel, the program reaches out to make a positive impact on the lives of millions around the world each year.
The program is brought to schools nationwide to help combat the problems of bullying, student isolation, teen suicide, discrimination, school violence and increased disciplinary actions.
Rachel’s Challenge includes powerful presentations, training, community events, and professional development. While the events may only last a few hours, the changes and challenge remain in place after the presenters leave.
Each of the school has the option to begin a “Friends of Rachel” club which will in effect be a group of leaders within the school to continue the ideals of the challenge into the future.
According to the Rachel’s Challenge website, Rachel’s inspiring story provides a simple, yet powerful example of how small acts of kindness and acceptance motive individuals to consider relationships with people they come in contact with everyday.
“Rachel’s Challenge renews our hope that our life has meaning and purpose. Rachel’s story gives us permission to start our own chain reaction of kindness and compassion, which positively affects the climate in our schools and communities.”
According to the site, since its inception, over 17 million people have heard Rachel’s story in live settings around the world, at least eight school shootings have been prevented and over 500 suicides averted.