Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rachel's Challenge

This past week my parents and I got the opportunity to go to Rachel's Challenge. For those of you who have never heard about Rachel, she is one of the people who was shot and killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Rachel was a 17 year old who was a strong Christian and believed that she could change the world with small acts of kindness.
The Rachel’s Challenge presentations are given in schools and communities by family members as well as other speakers. They tell of Rachel's short life and her unfortunate death. During the presentation, they showed the back of Rachel's dresser, where she had traced her hands and written these words "These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will some day touch millions of people's hearts" Rachel had written this 4 years before her death. Little did Rachel know that all her hopes and dreams would come true and that she would touch millions of people's hearts with her strength.
Rachel wrote an essay shortly before her death and stated "I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” After her death, the family recieves millions of emails from friends of Rachel's as well as complete strangers, expressing how Rachel had done just that. Rachel always looked for people who weren't in the "popular" group and became their friend. One story her uncle gave was of Rachel walking through the halls at school one day and two guys were picking on a disabled boy so Rachel ran in between them and stopped them. After her death, the disabled boy emailed the family and told them that if not for Rachel he would have committed suicide that very night because he had been planning on it prior to Rachel becoming his friend. Rachel standing up for him, gave him hope. This is just one case of Rachel's kindness and compassion for others. Can you imagine the hundred other stories that the family was emailed of people that Rachel helped? (this was Rachel's journal that she wrote in everyday. She had her many thoughts written on the outside of her journal. Such as "I will not be labeled as average")
That horrible day at Columbine, Rachel was the first one that the two student gunmen approached. After firing one shot at Rachel, which hit her in the leg, the two gunmen asked her if she still believed in God and she simply stated "You know I do!". The gunman then fired a fatal shot into Rachael's head. I ask myself, When it really comes down to it, am I strong enough in my belief that I would proudly say yes like Rachel did? Rachel, as well as many others who died at Columbine High School that day, showed extreme courage and weren't going to deny their faith in God, even if their life depended on it. On the same note, in the assembly at school, (now remember I am in a public school so the government has a say in all that goes on and what can and can't be said in our school) Rachel's uncle, who was representing Rachel's Challenge, wasn't able to say what the question Rachel was asked. I think that is very sad. What our country has come to that we aren't even able to speak freely about God. I can't even begin to explain how hearing Rachel's story and hearing about how she has changed so many peoples lives simply by being their friend.


Rachel's brother Craig was also at Columbine High School the day of the shooting and witnessed two of his friend be shot and killed right next to him. Craig said "...her love for people was less conditional than anyone I knew... It didn't matter to her what you looked like or who your friends were. Another thing I liked and respected so much was that she made it clear... what her beliefs were". Our schools would be so much better if there were more people like Rachel. I know personally for me just in the last several days I have noticed myself judging somebody by the way they are dressed or the way they act and I have stopped myself because like Rachel's uncle said there is good in everybody its up to you to look for it. He also said if somebody wants to find something wrong with a person they can but in the same way if you want to find something good in somebody you can also do that! Rachel's Challenge has had a huge impact on my life and has showed me that one act of kindness can change somebody's lives. I really felt that I should share this with you. If you want to know more about Rachel's Challenge go to http://www.rachelschallenge.org/