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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Go Orange Day spreads kindness

  • HONESDALE-The Wayne County Courthouse was packed Thursday afternoon as many turned out to celebrate Go Orange Day, to renew the commitment to Rachel's Challenge.
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  • HONESDALE-The Wayne County Courthouse was packed Thursday afternoon as many turned out to celebrate Go Orange Day, to renew the commitment to Rachel's Challenge.
    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,” according to www.rachelschallenge.org.
    It was founded by Darrell Scott and his wife, Sandy, after his daughter Rachel was killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.
    She was the first victim.
    Last fall Rachel's Challenge came to Western Wayne, Wayne Highlands, Wallenpaupack and Forest City School Districts.
    The program was sponsored by Wayne Memorial Hospital, Wayne County Offices of Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention, along with the school districts.
    Spreading kindness
    Rachel's Challenge is focused on performing acts of kindness and paying it forward. School districts and other organizations are implementing programs and activities to keep the initiative going.
    One of those is making a paper chain.
    Betty Lawson, children's librarian at the Wayne County Public Library, said she has children write down an act of kindness they did or want to do on a piece of paper and add it to the chain.
    “I want the chain to go around the whole library,” she said.
    Keeping the momentum
    During Go Orange Day, students from the Western Wayne, Wayne Highlands, Wallenpaupack and Forest City School Districts were in attendance, along with representatives from Wayne Memorial Hospital and Wayne County employees.
    “None of us have ever met her [Rachel] and she hasn't been with us for a long time,” said Commissioner Wendall Kay. “I had to think what is it about Rachel that appeals to us to make want to follow in her example.
    “It's called Rachel's Challenge because it is a challenge to keep up with what she felt we can do. We rely on the young people to carry on that kindness.”
    Kay added making a difference in people's lives motivated Rachel to be the kind of person she was.
    “Thank you all for being here today,” he stated. “Thank you to everyone who was involved in this process. Let's push forward and do acts of kindness to make sure the momentum stays strong.”
    David Hoff, CEO for Wayne Memorial Hospital, agreed.
    “This wasn't just a one time thing,” he said. “We need to go day in and day out to keep the momentum going.
    Page 2 of 2 - “People could use kindness each day. Let's continue to spread kindness.”
    Hoff added he loves how the schools have continued to do a lot with Rachel's Challenge.
    Director of Public Relations for Wayne Memorial Health System, Lisa Champeau, added she loves the enthusiasm that has continued through Rachel's Challenge and wants to see it continue growing.
    Library efforts
    Lawson said it's her goal in the library to keep kindness on the tip of children's tongues at all times. She said on top of having them write their acts down, she wants it to be a discussion topic.
    “I want it to be a topic at the dinner table,” she said. “I want parents to ask what kindness their child did that day.”
    Lawson stated we need to instill kindness from the time they are babies and starting to explore the world.
    “I'm privileged to be part of it,” she said. “Thanks to everyone for being here.”
    Impact
    Students from each school had the opportunity to say how Rachel's Challenge has helped their school and what they have experienced.
    Each stated they saw differences in their school and in the community.
    You can find out more about Rachel's Challenge by visiting www.rachelschallenge.org.a

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