Creating Safer School Environments

Creating Safer School Environments The Burlington County Freeholders and Partnership for Healthy Adolescents will sponsor a fourth Rachel’s Challenge program to create safer school environments by talking to students about kindness and compassion at Willingboro High School on Thursday, February 8th. Student assembly sessions will be held at 7:50 and 9 a.m. and student training at 11am A program for parents and community members will be held at 6:30pm in the auditorium.

The program is based on an essay, “My Ethics, My Codes of Life” written by Rachel Joy Scott, one of the students killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. In it she issued a challenge to her generation.

Michael Kilgore of Colorado, a close friend of the Scott family, will be the guest speaker. He has presented Rachel’s Challenge to students all across the country and is a long-time educational program planner.

“Creating a safe environment for kids to learn and grow in is a vital component to any community,” said Freeholder Dawn Marie Addiego.

Nicole Nowlen, a surviving student from Columbine, spoke at the well received programs last fall at Pemberton Township, Rancocas Valley and Burlington City high schools Rachel’s Challenge is a national campaign designed to help school administrators, parents and students create safer and more productive places to learn and achieve.

The goal is to motivate and equip students to embrace new values of kindness and compassion so that no child is left behind because of fear and violence in their school.

“This program can truly be a life changing experience for our children and families,” said William Weisgarber of the Burlington County Health Department.

The Challenge is that people show compassion to one another thus creating a chain reaction of compassion and love for fellow human beings. The program consists of three steps: A school assembly, student leadership session and an evening community event.

The Challenge uses Rachel’s life story to touch the participants “hearts,” fills their “heads” with knowledge on the right things to do and walk away from this event with a genuine understanding that everyone can contribute to make things better.

The Partnership for Healthy Adolescents is funded by a grant from the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services. For more information, contact Elfrieda Francis at EFrancis@co.burlington.nj.us or 609-265-5548.

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Author: Press Release-Burlington County

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