JA offers empowering program
by Courtney Stevens
Sep 24, 2013 | 2473 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
"'You still believe in God?' and she said, 'You know I do.' And he said, 'Well, go be with him.'"

According to an interview with Craig Scott, the last words spoken by his sister Rachel Scott were to proclaim her belief in God.

She was then shot four times and killed on a grassy hill during lunch by two shooters.

Rachel was the first of 12 students to die in the Columbine Shooting in 1999.

It was from this tragedy that her family created Rachel's Challenge, 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," according to the Rachel's Challenge Website.

The Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland will sponsor Rachel's Challenge at Bayou Academy, Margaret Green Junior High School, Cleveland High School, East Side High School and D.M. Smith Middle School.

A community event will be held on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. at MGJH gym.

"The message from Rachel's Challenge is an inspirational message that has impacted millions of people," said Lesley Mancini, a JA member and organizer of the event.

"JA of Cleveland attended the Annual Education Conference this summer and had the pleasure of hearing the inspirational message of Rachel's Challenge," Mancini also said, "Our chapter felt strongly that by being able to provide the Rachel's Challenge experience to all 7-12 graders in Cleveland would be extremely beneficial to not only the students but to our community."

Scott was a normal teenager and after her death, her parents realized that the writings in her journals could change the lives of others.

According to the Website, shortly before her death Rachel 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."

The goals and objectives for schools are to create a safe learning environment for all students by re-establishing civility and delivering proactive anecdotes to school violence and bullying, to improve academic achievement by engaging students’ hearts, heads and hands in the learning process.

Also to provide students with social/emotional education that is both colorblind and culturally relevant.

Lastly, to train adults to inspire, equip and empower students to affect permanent positive change.

The presentation is geared for sixth-graders to adults and admission is free.

For further information visit www.rachelschallenge.org