Students at Brandon Valley High School experience a new type of program that aims to prevent bullying.
"Challenge Day" takes bullying prevention to the next level. The program challenges students to be the change they want to see in the world.
Music and an over-sized volleyball game might be some of the few things that help high school students to let their hair down in large crowds.
Challenge Day is a national program that educates kids about bullying. It starts with ice breakers in the morning, helping kids make connections with students that might not necessarily be their BFFs, but teaching them to appreciate the value of everyone's individuality. The program goes beyond traditional anti-bullying efforts by building empathy and compassion.
"The goal in mind is when they go out back to the regular lives and the six-hour challenge course is over that they are more comfortable to stand for what they believe and may not be so quiet if they see some things that aren't quite right," Sioux Empire United Way member Kristi Kranz said.
The cross section of the students chosen for the program will then be challenged tomorrow to go into the hallways and share and to live that message with the rest of their friends.
Some say Challenge Day helps students realize they really aren't all that different, if they take the time to get to know each other.
"It's a way for them to speak from the heart and get real with one another," Kranz said.
That is exactly what organizers say is needed to erase bullying.
The Sioux Empire United Way sponsored the pilot program at Brandon Valley and is taking it to West Central Middle School later in the week.
Feedback from students and teachers will determine whether this program spreads to more communities in the state.