There are plenty of programs and initiatives in schools these days with lofty goals and good intentions, although it often is difficult to actually measure their ultimate success or effectiveness.
The now defunct Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education program, or D.A.R.E., for instance, aimed to instil in kids the importance of making smart choices—a message they hopefully carry into their teen years and beyond. The jury is still out, meanwhile, on whether forcing high school students to collect 40 volunteer hours in order to graduate is translating into civic-minded young adults.
The beauty here is that it’s the students themselves who are keeping alive the dream of young Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine High School massacre back in 1999, who believed “if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”
Many programs show promise at the beginning. The key to their long-term success, of course, hinges on sustaining that initial momentum.
Steve Latimer, youth justice co-ordinator with the local United Native Friendship Centre, spearheaded the effort to bring “Rachel’s Challenge” to Rainy River District. The onus then fell upon the students to keep the ball rolling—and so far they’ve done an admirable job.
Keep up the good work to ensure this “pay it forward” mentality carries over to future school years. You never know what a difference it will make.