Chain reaction: how far a little kindness can go


After being hit with the sudden loss of his 17-year-old daughter, Darrell Scott decided to speak up and draw attention to the need of a kinder and more compassionate nation. Rachel Joy Scott was the first person killed in the Columbine High School tragedy on 20 April 1999, where 12 students and one teacher were murdered

Rachel Scott’s family chose to keep her memory alive by creating a chain reaction to spread kindness

Each day hundreds of thousand of students around the world avoid going to school out of fear of being bullied, teased and harassed. Bullying can leave a permanent mark in the victim’s heart, and sometimes the consequences of it are irreversible. The Columbine tragedy is a clear example of how this mental aggression can lead to school violence. The kids responsible for the shooting had allegedly been victims of bullying for four years. And their reaction to it resulted in the devastation of many families.

Despite this, one father from Colorado (US) was determined to turn the story of tragic deaths into a mission for change. That is how Rachel’s Challenge was created. Together with wife Sandy Scott – Rachel’s stepmom – Darrell realised Rachel’s personal writings and drawings not only had an impact on her friends and classmates but also resonated with students around the world.

Although Rachel was a typical teenager who even wrote about her “ups and downs,” she had a passion and conviction that she would someday change the world. The Scott family knew her story and passion had to be told to inspire others to make the world a better place.

“Rachel left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others, or who were new at her school. Shortly before her death she wrote in her diary: ‘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. People will never know how far a little kindness can go’,” says Darrell.

Rachel’s Challenge has the mission to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.

“The tragedy at Columbine is an important part of Rachel’s story but we choose to focus on her life more than her death. We want the world to know that positive things have sprung from this event as well. Now more than ever, it is important for people to know that hope can come out of challenge and adversity. There are many circumstances in this world over which we have no control. Rachel’s Challenge is something we can all do – help change the world by starting a chain reaction of kindness. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s empowering to realize that one person can make a difference.”

Darrell also points out that Rachel’s Challenge honours every family impacted by the events of Columbine.

The chain reaction by Rachel’s Challenge

At School:

  • Provide students with social/emotional education that is both colour blind and culturally relevant.
  • Train adults to inspire, equip and empower students to affect permanent positive change.
  • Create a safe learning environment for all students by re-establishing civility and delivering proactive anecdotes to school violence and bullying.
  • Improve academic achievement by engaging students’ hearts, heads and hands in the learning process.

At Work:

  • Create an environment of kindness and compassion within the business setting.
  • Empower and equip individuals through training with the ability to make a difference in their place of work.
  • Inspire and motivate individuals to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.
  • Impact the corporation’s bottom-line results (people, profits and revenue).

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