On April 20, 1999, Rachel Joy Scott was the first person killed in the Columbine High School shooting. After her death many students that Rachel reached out to shared stories with her family about the profound impact her simple acts of kindness had on their lives.
After realizing the transformation effect of Rachel’s story, her family started the non-profit organization now known as Rachel’s Challenge.
Every year over 1.5 million people are involved in the program, more than 1,200 schools and businesses are reached, over 150 suicides are averted and bullying and violence is decreased.
The program provides a sustainable, evidence-based framework for positive climate and culture in schools. It exists to inspire people to be kind and compassionate towards others so their environment can be safer, effectively helping to reduce bullying and violence.
Tennyson Middle School principal Matt Rambo said they applied for a school grant to be able to bring Rachel’s Challenge to the school and inspire their students.
“The Rachel’s Challenge really is about positive messages, and that is really what we are about here, is intervening before bullying happens and encouraging students to interact appropriate and nice and show acts of kindness and to focus on the good things in people,” said Rambo.
One of Rachel’s lasting impacts is a theory she wrote in her final school essay:
“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.”
This story was originally published on KXXV.