Cox Communications awarded its first Community Impact grant of $50,000 to the Edmond Public Schools anti-bullying program on Wednesday.
The district will use the money to bring Rachel’s Challenge, a kindness and compassion outreach curriculum, to the district’s elementary schools.
This year Edmond School District, through a donation from a student’s parents, brought Rachel's Challenge to the district and presented it in all five of the middle schools and one elementary school.
Rachel’s Challenge is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion.
The programs are based on the writings and life of 17-year-old Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first of 13 victims killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, in Littleton, Colo.
Rachel left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others or who were new at her school.
Shortly before her death Rachel wrote, “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.”
Rachel had written in her journal, “I will not be average. Dream big and believe in yourself, be kind to others, show appreciation to those you love and be the answer.”
“Rachel’s Challenge will help us create a culture in our elementary schools that focuses on starting chain reactions of kindness,” said Lynne Rowley, director of elementary education. Each elementary school will receive the Rachel’s Challenge Kindness and Compassion Elementary Program Curriculum with lessons and outlined procedures for implementing a KC (Kindness and Compassion) Club. The club is made up of students who identify and plan ways children and adults can show kindness and compassion to members of the community.
“West Field Elementary implemented Rachel’s Challenge this year. Recently, students at West Field collected gloves, hats, scarves, toothpaste and deodorant to donate to homeless students attending Positive Tomorrows.”
Cara Jernigan, principal at West Field, said, “Through this club we hope to see students empowered, lives changed and attitudes transformed.”