Home > Blogroll, Challenge Day, church, Life, religion, schools, South Africa > I wish WE had Challenge day..!

I wish WE had Challenge day..!

So I was watching Oprah last week with my cousin and the show was about this couple who started this programme in 1987 called “Challenge Day” at high schools. it is a non-profit organization who, according to their website http://www.challengeday.org , wants to stop teenage violence and alienation. The show was about one of these days that was held at Munroe High School somewhere in the States. It showed a brief overview of how the day went, what activities they let the 64 participants do and the amazing outcome at the end of the day.
So what is so challenging about this Challenge Day? Well, for starters, it breaks down stone walls that teens built up around them. Stereotypes get to see that the other kids in school are not that different than themselves. And they were all there: the jocks, the cheerleaders, the gays, the geeks, the Goths, the black kids (no, black is not a stereotype but you know what I mean!), the fat kids, the “normal” kids…everyone. they started off with some games I recognized from teambuilding programmes that I have attended and then the gradually moved to the more serious stuff – sharing. They were shown sitting two by two and later in larger groups, constantly challenged to talk to someone of a different race, culture…whatever, and share stuff. One topic, for example, what they did in the larger groups of about 7 to 8 people, was “If you really knew me you’d knew that…”
Later the kids were called to cross a line if they matched up to a certain criteria that were read out, like “If you ever felt alone because you were called ugly” or “If you were ever called names” or “If someone you cared about ever betrayed you”…the list goes on. The kids started to see that they were not THAT alone in their high schools like they thought they were and they saw how they hurt each other, often unknowingly, and kids started to ask for forgiveness and share their fears. The outcome was awesome when people started to forgive each other and walls that were built up between people came crushing down.
The people had a hand-sign that represented “love” and whenever you felt the same as someone else or if you wanted to let them know that you sympathize, you just showed the hand sign.
It was really something that got me thinking. What if we had this in OUR high school? That would really have changed a lot, people being very stereotypically bullies and bullied, feeling alone and outcast. There’s so much that could have been fixed if we only had that. Broken friendships would be mended and trust would be reformed.
We should seriously begin thinking of implementing it in our schools here in South Africa. The ONE social issue nobody ever attend is bullies and, with that, loneliness. Kids in our schools get bullied all the time and no-one ever does anything about it. It starts at the youngest age and continue throughout their school careers if it isn’t stopped or if the kid doesn’t change something. Yes, that is the reality. It is usually the picked-on child that must change his/her own lives to fit in with the rest of society, while there in actuality was nothing wrong with them to begin with.
Children, regardless of who they are and what talents they possess, where they come from or what they look like, should NEVER, EVER feel alone!!!

  1. sunette
    July 12, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    ‘Challenge day’ sounds like something that could realy help in our schools. Not just high school, but also primary school. If kids were put in a situation where they were forced to get to know eachother, it could clear up a lot of misunderstandings, stereotypes and misperceptions. Thre is a problem, though. Not all kids will be susceptible to this. Some will resist for the simple reason that they are being forced. This could do more harm than good. Implementing something like this, would be great, but there are a lot of things that need to be considered. I know the whole S.A.context thing is getting old, but it’s reality. We are one of the most diverse countries in the world, and that’s probably why we don’t have a program like this.

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