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October 23, 2016
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Rachel’s Challenge; Anti-bullying program comes to northeastern PA

Rachel Scott, the first student killed in the Columbine High School rampage, became the inspiration for a program to inspire others with kindness as a way to address bullying and other problems in schools and communities.
Contributed photos

Rachel was not the only poet in the Scott family. The son of a Louisiana pastor, Darrell Scott is another accomplished poet who uses his affecting poetry to change hearts. The program features heartrending poetry from both Scotts, as well as many of Rachel’s journal and diary entries. Likened to Anne Frank, a portion of the program is devoted to exploring the parallels between these two young women in both their writings and their lives.

It would be inaccurate to characterize Rachel’s Challenge as an anti-bullying program only. It’s a prescription for culture change. More than that, it’s a paradigm for realizing maximum human potential. A step-by-step workshop for recognizing the greatness in others and seeing it reflected back in their eyes, there is nothing revolutionary in the philosophy of this organization. In fact, it embodies the precepts of most of the world’s major religions. However, it does do well what any organization that aspires to culture change must do: clearly define the failings of the current culture, outline the steps necessary for achieving positive change and pack an emotional wallop for incentive to change.

Although it can be difficult to quantify the success of an organization like Rachel’s Challenge, there is no arguing with the more than 500 unsolicited testimonials from potential suicide victims that the organization has received in the past three years alone. Evidence of lives changed for the better arrives daily at Rachel’s Challenge headquarters in the form of thank you letters. That, says Darrell Scott, is what keeps him and this organization motivated.

Contrary to public opinion, Rachel’s Challenge is not limited to preventing bullying, violence and suicide in schools only. It is intended to serve the entire population, worldwide, and is available in Wayne County in several free public presentations, as listed below.

[For more information about Rachel’s Challenge, visit www.rachelschallenge.org. See also related My View on page 7.]

Rachel’s Challenge: free evening community programs open to the public
Tuesday, September 10, 7 p.m., Wallenpaupack High School
Thursday, September 12, 7 p.m., Honesdale High School
Wednesday, September 25, 7 p.m., Western Wayne High School
Thursday, September 26, 7 p.m., Forest City Regional School
Sponsored by: Wayne Memorial Hospital; Wayne County Offices of Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention; and the four school districts listed above.