Tahoe-Truckee sudents to address harassment, racism, bullying | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee sudents to address harassment, racism, bullying

Jessica VanPernis Weaver
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE-TAHOE — This fall, ninth-grade students at Truckee and North Tahoe high schools will have the opportunity to participate in the "Challenge Day" program, designed to address some of the common issues seen at most schools including cliques, gossip, rumors, teasing, harassment, racism, sexism, bullying, violence, homophobia, and hidden pressures to create an image, achieve or live up to the expectations of others.

According to the founders of Challenge Day, the program's mission is to "provide youth and their communities with experiential workshops and programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth and full expression." The program was created to encourage connection and empathy, and to allow children to feel safe, loved and celebrated.

This fall, Challenge Day will be held at Truckee High (at the District Office) on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at North Tahoe High on Oct. 23 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

During this interactive program, students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones through music, games and small group activities, in an effort to recognize stereotypes and labels that exist.

"Ninth-grade students in our district have participated in the Challenge Day program for a number of years, and have found it to be an inspiring, motivating and impactful day of self-discovery and building community," said Kim Bradley, Wellness Center Coordinator for the Truckee Tahoe Unified School District. "We recognize the value this program brings to our students, and have decided it is something that needs to be continued and expanded upon in the future."

Last spring, the Excellence in Education Foundation board granted more than $24,000 in support of character development programs for TTUSD students. The funds were contributed in order to continue the Challenge Day program, as well as fund the "Be the Change" curriculum, which is a follow-up program for high school students to keep the "spirit" of Challenge Day alive, as well as incorporate it into the school culture.

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A portion of the funds were also allocated in order to fund a new "Second Step" middle school character development program.

At the conclusion of Challenge Day, those who have fully participated will be encouraged to celebrate the diversity of all people, create positive change, and have the tools to exhibit healthy self-expression.

They will be encouraged to let go of self-limiting thoughts, and demonstrate a new level of self-confidence that comes with the belief that they have the ability to do anything they put their mind to.

The school district is actively seeking volunteers to assist with the programs, and needs to recruit 30 adults to participate per day. Volunteers actively participate in these sessions with positive energy and an open heart, and are guaranteed to find the day to be inspirational.

To volunteer, sign-up by contacting Bradley at kbradley@ttusd.org.

— Jessica VanPernis Weaver is an Excellence in Education board member.