Tuesday, January 29, 2013

have you heard of challenge day?

Did you know that we need about 4 hugs a day for survival? 
What about the fact that we need 8 hugs a day for maintenance?
And did you know we need 12 hugs a day for growth?
{read more here}

I think I met my hug quota for the week in just one day.
Yesterday, I was an adult volunteer at Challenge Day at the high school where I coach cheerleading.
This was my third Challenge Day at the school, and it never ceases to amaze me the power this event has on the students who participate {and the adults for that matter!}.
It is an emotional day.
But it is one of the most positive experiences I've ever been a part of.

Challenge Day challenges students {and me} to get 100 percent REAL - about their thoughts, feelings, actions, self-image and dreams.
It creates an environment where students are heard, loved, celebrated and feel safe.
This program isn't just an anti-bullying effort. It's about helping students to understand and empathize with one another in order to create positive change in their lives, schools and communities.
And let me tell ya, the 6.5 hours those students spend in this program are powerful!

We started the day with lots of cheering as the students entered the room, silly ice breakers that are both awkward and hilarious, and lots of dancing, high-fiving and hugs.
Then we got real.
Each adult volunteer is assigned a small group of students. Everyone in the group gets 2 minutes during two rounds to just be heard. There is no discussion. Only listening.
And I am always brought to tears by the things the students in my small group share.
One of my favorite, and one of the most emotional, activties is "Cross the Line."
The program leader reads different scenarios and you cross the line for what applies to you.
I bawled like a baby.
Because some of the things these kids cross the line for are heartbreaking.
 But it is so eye-opening for these students and adults to see that they are not alone.
There is so much love and support in the room during this activity - well, the whole day - and that alone will choke you up.

Challenge Day encourages students to be the change they wish to see in the world.
It starts in that room. And it is something these students can take with them and spread to others.
In that room, they realize how much power they have to make a difference in their lives and the lives of those around them.
The high school, where I coach and participated in Challenge Day, has even started an after-school program called "Be the Change" that works to create positive change in the school.

When I came into work this morning, a co-worker told me that an 11-year-old girl in a nearby Ohio city had committed suicide after being bullied by her classmates.
I couldn't help but wonder if having Challenge Day at her school might have saved her life.
I would highly recommend this program to schools.
It is such as awesome experience.
If you need more information, go to challengeday.org, or leave a comment and I can hook you up with the woman who organizes the program at the high school where I've participated.

I hope you all get at least four hugs {8 is better, 12 is best} today!



Mary said...

Wow that's so powerful! Thank you for sharing! Sending you a digital hug right now! :)

the girl in the red shoes said...

Wow, that is amazing! I love the hug idea....totally sending you one now!

Maggie B. said...

What an amazing program for our students! I used to work at a middle school (as the music teacher) and my heart was always breaking for the life situations of those kids... and that they never feel that their voices are heard or that their opinions matter. Thank you so much for sharing! ::hug::

Amy @ A Glimpse of the Gouglers said...

What an awesome experience! I agree sessions like this should be held at all schools especially with the severe effects that bullying is having on our youth!

callie ;) said...

yay, you blogged about this! it sounds like a phenomenal experience and is a great way to help exact change in a youth setting. i would love to be involved in something like this. proud of you! :)

Ashley said...

What a great program!!! Glad you could be apart of it and thanks for sharing it!

Lins - Domesticated Working Woman said...

I am so moved by this! I have shared this with my principal and guidance counselor. I really think my kids would benefit from this. Thank you SO much for sharing!

Kelly { Messy.Dirty.Hair.} said...

Wow this is wonderful! You're such an amazing person, these kids are lucky to have you! Sending you virtual hugs!!!

My-cliffnotes said...

I would have cried with you, this sounds like such a great program.

Janna Renee said...

I definitely understand the hug thing, because now that the hubby is back to give me hugs...I am much happier! This sounds like an activity that ALL schools need to do!

emily said...

so happy to have friends that do such great things for other people! :)

i wish i would have been able to participate in challenge day with you. monday's just do not work for me at all. :(

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