Rachel’s Challenge, a national nonprofit that promotes the prevention of teen violence and a culture of kindness and compassion in schools will present a program Wednesday evening in Penns Valley.
The program, which is open to the public, provides students and adults with resources to help keep schools safe. It was founded in memory of Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine High School shootings in 1999.
Penns Valley Area High School counselor Karen Bossert made it a goal this year to bring the program to the district.
“It was something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Bossert said. “I had the personal opportunity to see it last year and (it) sparked my interest. … It’s the first time we’re able to bring this program here with some funding from the district and outside organizations.”
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A representative from Rachel’s Challenge will address the community from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the high school auditorium.
The speaker, Mike, was a sophomore at the University of Denver when the massacre happened.
“He was deeply impacted by the tragic event, and in 2008, Mike was given the opportunity to begin speaking for Rachel’s Challenge,” according to the organization’s website. “He took it with grace and gratitude.”
Since then, he’s spoken to more than 200,000 students.
Bossert said she thinks it will have a good community response.
“I think they will be really impacted by the stories they’ll hear,” Bossert said. “I’m an optimist and think programs like this really do make a positive impact.”
She has been working with the school on a positive-behavior program through community outreach that includes student-run food drives and other activities.
“We just want to work at developing a culture of kindness and compassion,” Bossert said.
The seminar is open to the public ages 12 and older.