Preventing School Violence, Bullying, and Suicide
At Rachel’s Challenge, we create change. We know that hope is the antidote to fear. We know that kindness is contagious, that compassion connects us, that empathy can end isolation. We teach these positive tools and skills to address the causes of school violence and self-harm directly at the source: we don’t treat the symptoms; we cure the disease.
What We Do
Tell and show
Stories are powerful. We tell the story of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine school shootings. Rachel was just an ordinary teenager in many ways; but she believed that kindness could change the world. She wrote about it, talked about it – and acted on it. After her death, stories emerged of the little things Rachel had done that had made a big difference in the lives of those around her.
Starting with her example, we show what kindness looks like; what it feels like. We teach simple and easy ways to reach out and connect to each other emotionally. We model positive behavior that is compassionate and empathetic. Some call it social emotional learning. We call it life-changing.
Because when we can see it, we can create it. It’s amazing how far a little kindness can go.
A Day for Change
We know that teachers, parents and leaders are stretched thin. We’ve designed our student-led program for a minimum level of effort from faculty, with maximum support and flexibility. With both digital and live options that work separately or together, we adapt to your needs – while respecting your resources.
A Rachel’s Challenge program is the simplest, most powerful thing you can do for your community. Our signature event can happen in just one day.
A Real Solution
Why it works
By modeling a positive way to interact, we invite people – students, teachers, parents, everyone – to see each other differently. To see themselves differently. We show them the power they have inside, to ease the struggles that others feel, even as they rise above their own.
And something astounding happens: people get excited. They can’t wait to flex their new kindness attitudes. It turns out that many of us are hungry for connection, searching for hope, and waiting for permission to be vulnerable and reach out. We say: permission granted. The change you’re hoping for is ready for you to awaken it.
Principal, Rice Lake High School
“Rachel’s Challenge stimulates academic and social emotional-learning by focusing on the connection between students, faculties and staff.”
Dr. Robert Marzano
Educator, Researcher, Author
“Rachel’s Challenge is the simplest, most powerful intervention I have seen in 40 years of working in education.”
Principle, Rice Lake High School
Rachel’s Challenge stimulates academic and social emotional-learning by focusing on the connection between students, faculties and staff.
Dr Roberto Marzano
Educator, Researcher, Author
Rachel’s Challenge is the simplest, most powerful intervention I have seen in 40 years of working in education.
A chain reaction
Our solution has a powerful added benefit: It doesn’t just save lives, it improves them. Behavior improves. Attitudes improve. Test scores improve. Participation improves. Students that feel safe and connected are better able to retain information, because security enables memory encoding. They are more curious, because their cognitive functions are not inhibited. All of which leads to more confidence and resilience. It’s actual neuroscience. It’s also common sense.
Kindness makes us feel good – that’s actual science, too. And the hidden magic of kindness is that it spreads – because we naturally mirror what we experience. Rachel called it a Chain Reaction – and over 20 years later, the longest paper chains on earth prove she was right.
Who we are
Rachel’s Challenge is a non-political, non-religious, non-profit organization dedicated to creating positive school cultures and ending school violence in all its forms.
We are the most effective, proven, long-standing program in the world for preventing gun violence, self-harm and suicide, ending bullying and harassment, and improving youth mental health. With over 20 years in the field, tens of millions of lives touched, and many thousands of lives saved, Rachel’s Challenge has the track record and experience that educators and families can rely on.
Oh, and that bit about preventing violence in schools? We don’t do that. The people that are touched by Rachel’s Story – they do that.