Dominoes Episode Fifteen

Charley was excited for the final session on the change process: Sustained Action. He felt that the interns were well prepared for the summer in-person sessions. Audra was the last intern to prepare the story for the discussion. Charley gave her the name of a person to write about but Audra had other thoughts. She wanted to do a story that was personal to her.

Rachel Scott was born in 1981 in Denver, CO. Her father was a pastor and Rachel was devoutly religious. She was an extrovert who had a deep concern for those who had struggles in life. Her faith led to ridicule by those who were her classmates. Rachel rarely attended school events because of the party practices she didn’t approve of.

At age 17, she was shot four times. She was the first student who was murdered at Columbine High School. Over 1,000 people attended her funeral. Following her death, there were many books of adoration written about Rachel.

Rachel’s story and her simple acts of kindness inspired others. Finding that so many people were inspired by Rachel’s story, her father founded Rachel’s Challenge. The mission of Rachel’s Challenge was to advocate for safe schools including violence, bullying, discrimination, and mental health concerns.

Rachel’s Challenge is estimated to reach two million people per year. Each person is asked to take an oath with five principles devoted to prevention of anguish inflicted by violence and hatred. Large and small acts of kindness are encouraged to show care and compassion. The attendees are also encouraged to begin a chain reaction of purposeful living.

The direct impact of Rachel’s Challenge has been the prevention of numerous suicidal thoughts. There are seven documented school shootings that have been prevented. Rachel’s Challenge had not ended mass shootings in schools, but it has made an impact of reducing the alienation that might have led to many more deaths in our schools.

Charley was very pleased that Audra had developed a story of personal interest. It also showed how a cause could be sustained in memory of a person as well as sustained action of the difference maker. Again, the intern insights were impressive.

“I was impressed how Rachel’s Challenge was focused on the root cause of school violence and didn’t try to confront the issues of gun access. They chose to make a difference where there were real possibilities of change.”

“Rachel’s death was the first domino, but there are many more dominos to follow. This was very inspiring.”

“The results were very impressive. This shows the importance of how making a difference also requires some sense of the results to be achieved.”

Charley summarized the discussion by asking the interns to think of these discussions as they applied to the change they wanted to make. “We will be working on your own plans when we meet a week from now.”

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“Only through external eyes will she ever know how powerful her life and death became.”– Rachel’s Mother

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