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Colusa High School Prepares for “Be the Change Week” with Challenge Day

For millions of young people, bullying, violence, and other forms of oppression are a part of a typical day at school. Many students are afraid to walk down the halls for fear of being teased or humiliated. Others felt so alone and frightened that they cannot even pay attention in their classes.

Imagine a school where every child feels safe, loved, and celebrated. This is the vision behind Challenge Day, an award-winning day-long experiential program for middle and high school students.

On Monday, September 15, 2014, the acclaimed day-long Challenge Day program will take place at Colusa High School during “Be the Change Week.” Students and teachers will experience the innovative workshop, which is designed to break down barriers and promote school and community environments based in understanding, acceptance, and love.

At a Challenge Day, teenage students, teachers, school counselors, parents, and members of the community are challenged to step out of their comfort zones, open their hearts, and build connections with others. Two trained Challenge Day

Leaders guide participants through a carefully-designed series of games, activities, and trust-building exercises that break down the walls of separation and create new levels of empathy and respect.

The Challenge Day program reduces teasing and bullying, teaches tools for peaceful conflict resolution, and inspires teens and adults to work together as forces for positive change in the world.

Motivated by a vision that love and connection are possible in schools, Rich and Yvonne Dutra-St. John created the Challenge Day program in Martinez, California in 1987. Through their years of professional experience with teens and families, Rich and Yvonne recognized that teasing, bullying, and other forms of social oppression are symptoms of a greater underlying problem: separation, isolation, and loneliness. Rich and Yvonne designed the Challenge Day program to build connection and forgiveness between young people, and to inspire youth to become positive forces of change in their schools and communities.

Challenge Day was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2001. Today, its programs have reached hundreds of thousands of young people across North America and around the world.

“Thank you for bringing Challenge Day to our school,” said one Challenge Day teen participant, “It has changed my life forever. It hurt me to see how many people have a problem in their lives, but it is also comforting to know that others are going through the same thing I am. I feel this day has changed the way I view others.”

To learn more about the work of Challenge Day, please visit www.challengeday.org. ■

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