Rachel's Challenge inspires others to commit to kindness


by KING 5 News


Posted on March 1, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 2 at 4:05 PM

Out of the horrific tragedy at Columbine High School comes the story of kindness and compassion from one of the victims of the shooting rampage.
Her name is Rachel Scott.
Moments before two students opened fire at Columbine in April 1999, unleashing their hate and rage on their classmates, Rachel sat on the lawn eating lunch when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold started shooting.
She was a gifted writer, a big dreamer and the kind of teenager who would reach out to the unpopular kids at school. She defended those who were picked on. And after her death, some of her classmates later admitted they were on the verge of taking their own life, until Rachel said hello.
Her heroes included Anne Frank, who inspired her to keep diaries. In those journals, her family later learned, she expressed her desire to change the world through kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
When Rachel was 13 years old, she outlined her hands on the back of a dresser. In the center of one of those hands she wrote, "These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people's hearts."
Not long after her death, her father Darrell Scott founded a program called "Rachel's Challenge," a nationwide outreach program that aims to reduce school violence and bullying. It centers around an essay she wrote six weeks before she died. She called it "My Ethics, My Code of Life."
"In that essay, she challenged her reader to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion that would ripple around the world," said her father.
It's a simple challenge: Be kind to others, don't be quick to judge and look for the best and beauty in everyone.

"She said people will never know how far a little kindness can go," said Dana Scott, Rachel's sister. Become a fan of KING 5's Rachel's Challenge on Facebook.
In a nationwide movement, Rachel's Challenge is being implemented in schools and corporations, including here in Western Washington. Fifteen million people have heard Rachel's story through school assemblies. In those schools, bullying has decreased. Most importantly, more than 400 suicides have been prevented over the last two years.

"She had no idea that millions of people would not only read her code of ethics, but many people would memorize it and let it become their own code of ethics," said Darrell.

Tell us why you need Rachel's Challenge in your school or how it has made your school better by answering a few questions.