Rachel’s Challenge encourages students to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion

HARLAN  — Harlan Community School students were encouraged to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion during a presentation inspired by the life of a school shooting victim.
On April 20, 1999, Rachel Scott was eating lunch outside Columbine (Colorado) High School, when two students armed with automatic weapons and pipe bombs walked onto the campus and began shooting.
The 17-year-old was the first victim in the deadly massacre, in which 12 students and one teacher were killed. Both shooters committed suicide.
In one of her final classroom assignments, Rachel wrote an essay which read in part, ““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.”
Her words are the foundation of Rachel’s Challenge” a national nonprofit that has provided programs and presentations to schools across the country since 2001. The programs attempt to create a culture less susceptible to harrassment, isolation, and violence.
The program was presented to over 100 Harlan Community high schoolers Thursday  and the entire seventh grade class on Friday. There were 25 community volunteers assisting with the program, which introduced the five aspects of Rachel’s Challenge:
— Eliminate prejudice.
— Set goals.
— Keep a journal.
— Use kind words.
— Start a chain reaction of kindness and caring.
 According to the website, Rachel’s Challenge is brought into schools due to problems with bullying, student isolation, teen suicide, discrimination, school violence, and increased disciplinary actions. Through powerful presentations, trainings, community events, and professional development, Rachel’s Challenge helps provide a sustainable solution.
 Rachel’s inspiring story provides a simple, yet powerful example of how small acts of kindness and acceptance can  motivate everyone to consider relationships with the people they come into contact with every day.
 More than two million students from the United States and other countries participate in the program annually.




Harlan Newspapers

1114 7th Street
P.O. Box 721
Harlan, IA 51537-0721

(800) 909-6397

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