Kindness and compassion - words perhaps sometimes bantered about without much conviction- were driven home in a message brought to many in the South Tama County community on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
From kindergarten students to grandparents, and all in between, the message of Rachel's Challenge was offered in a series of programs at the STC High School. More than 400 gathered Wednesday night at the STC gym for a community-wide presentation.
Rachel Hope Scott was the first student gunned down in the massacre at Columbine High School at Littleton, Colo. in 1999 - one of 12 students and a teacher killed and 21 others injured.
South Tama students gather around Rachel’s Challenge program presenter Colleen Kirk (facing camera) after the evening Rachel’s Challenge program at the STC?High Gym on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
What developed, in short, is Rachel left behind insightful, inspirational and even prophetic writings. Beginning with her father and stepmother, Darrell and Sandy Scott, Rachel's words began to spread and Rachel's Challenge was born.
Among the goals are to prevent bullying and to promote performance of kind acts. One of Rachel's messages was an act of kindness "can start a chain reaction."
"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," is a message attributed to Rachel shortly before she was killed.
Rachel's Challenge program presenter Colleen Kirk gave interpretations and added more information which was interspersed throughout film segments to bring better understanding.
Effectiveness of Rachel's Challenge seemed immediate at South Tama, Joyce Legg, o-chair of Tama County Supporting Kids in Prevention (SKIP), one of the organizations sponsoring the Rachel's Challenge program here.
"Kids are really talking about it," she said on Thursday. "Some 50 to 60 have already attended training for the Friends of Rachel Club. They're just exploding with ideas." Legg said STC school counselors have also embraced the program.
Following the evening presentation, signing banner pledging support for Rachel's Challenge was a popular activity.
Sponsors of the Rachel's Challenge program at South Tama in addition to SKIP were South Tama elementary Boosters, Friends of the STC Middle School and STC High School Boosters.
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