By Wayne Allen
This week Bloom-Vernon School District has been participating in Challenge Days, when adults and students participate in activities meant to inspire change in the students and community.
“Challenge Day was here in the past and was provided (paid for) by a grant. This was something we thought was very good for our kids,” said Erin Howel, one of the event organizers. “In the state in which being a teenager, all of the pressures and the different things that occur, I think its real important kids have an opportunity to see adults care for them and Challenge Day provides an avenue for that.”
According to www.challengeday.org, “The Challenge Day program is created to build connection and empathy, and to fulfill our vision that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated. Challenge Day is more than one-day program. Our programs go beyond traditional anti-bullying efforts, building empathy and igniting a movement of compassion and positive change.”
Howel said Challenge Day provides an avenue for students to express any frustrations they have and appreciate each other.
“It (Challenge day) really helps them (students) realize they are not alone and they are not experiencing things by themselves. It really helps them appreciate their fellow classmates and it’s OK to be different and fell for each other,” Howel said.
She said over the course of the program the districts 7-12 students participated, over the course of four days.
Howel said, reaction from participants has been positive with most saying the experience was eye-opening.
“Understanding is one of the biggest things they walk away with. They also come away with a better understanding of themselves and fellow classmates,” Howel said. “The adults that participated were just as compassionate as the students are.”
According to www.challengeday.org, “Challenge Day programs are the catalyst for creating positive change in schools and communities.”
Howel said the district has plans for follow up programs with students provided by Challenge Day.
“If they only have compassion for each other for one day, than we have not really made a change. We want to see change on a daily basis, being more compassionate, caring for others and more compassionate,” Howel said.
For more information about Challenge Day visit www.challengeday.org.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT