Challenging Red Deerians to be kind

Red Deerian Kayla Whissell, a Grade 11 student at Hunting Hills High School, has challenged Red Deerians with Rachel’s Challenge.

Whissell recently challenged Red Deer RCMP members and hopes that Rachel’s Challenge will spread across Red Deer and maybe even across Canada.

Rachel’s Challenge was named after Rachel Scott, who was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20th during the 1999 massacre.

It was created by Rachel Scott’s family in her memory after finding an essay that she wrote just before she died.

In her essay Scott said she had a theory that if one person would go out of their way to show some compassion then it would start a chain reaction.

“Not only is compassion something that everybody needs in their daily lives it is the little things that people don’t realize,” said Whissell.

“If someone is having a bad day just the little things could brighten their day.”

Whissell presented Red Deer RCMP members with an envelope and inside there was a letter explaining Rachel’s Challenge and a card with a number on it that could be tracked as far as the beginning of Rachel’s Challenge at www.rachelschallenge.org.

“If we can start locally, especially at our own schools, and because I have seen such a drastic change in my school I would like to see a huge change in our community,” said Whissell.

The program focuses on five challenges taken from Scott’s essay and emphasizes a need for kindness and compassion.

The first challenge is to eliminate prejudice in schools and work places.

The second challenge is to dare to dream and students are encouraged to have goals and to keep a journal.

The third is to choose positive influences and role models. The fourth is to use kind words and to reach out to other students and the fifth is to start a chain reaction.

Hunting Hills students have also started a paper chain with their acts of kindness written on it and have strung it across the school and hope to make it around the whole school.

“Even if you don’t receive a card you can still do simple acts of kindness every single day and it could change lives.”