Mount Mercy spreads the message of Rachel's Challenge
Scott’s legacy to help others and spread kindness is now living on through the not-for-profit pro-kindness program, Rachel’s Challenge.
On Wednesday, Deedee Cooper, a representative and speaker for Rachel’s Challenge visited the students, faculty and staff at Mount Mercy Academy. Joining them were the students of several local grammar schools as well.
Rachel’s Challenge is a program that teaches students and adults how to be proactive in stopping bullying and violence and to spread kindness and respect.
Scott had written an essay on ways five challenges that can help prevent violence and bullying, just days before she became the first victim of the most tragic high school shooting in America’s history.
The local students that attended Wednesday’s assembly were taught to eliminate prejudice, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and to start their own chain reaction. These five challenges may seem unrealistic to some, but Scott believed that if they were overcome, one by one, one person after another, that it could indeed start a chain reaction.
“Small acts of kindness and compassion can truly change the world and can change who we are every single day,” said Cooper. “It’s important that we recognize that our words and our actions impact other people and how they impact other people and that just one small act of kindness can start a chain reaction.”
This message has been delivered to more than 18 million people in the United States and Canada. The results of the program in different schools have been astonishing. Since the program was initiated, an Illinois high school had 84 percent less out of school suspensions. In Texas, schools had given out 90 percent fewer discipline referrals. Recently, calculated throughout a 24-month period, more than 450 letters and emails were sent to Rachel’s Challenge from students stating that they had changed their minds about taking their own lives after the program came to their school.
When Scott was younger, she had traced her hands on the back of her dresser and wrote, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.”
Some would say that not only has she done that, but also saved the lives of many students that have not been as fortunate as to receive the kindness that she was always willing to give.
“I’m hoping that they step back a little and realize that maybe something that they’re saying that could be considered a joke, could be hurtful to someone else and to just stop for a moment and think before they hurt someone else,” said Mount Mercy Academy Principle Margaret Staszak.
It was an emotional message that was given to the students of Mount Mercy, as several of them wiped tears away as the assembly came to an end. Cooper ended her message by having her audience close their eyes, picture their loved ones and promise that within three days they would tell each one of them how much they love and care about them. She said that this way, if something were to happen they would know how much you cared.