Rachel's Challenge inspires TOW students

Nearly 600 students filled Top of the World's multipurpose room Friday, to hear about the importance of spreading kindness.

Ali Nourbakhsh, from Rachel's Challenge, gave an interactive speech to show how a small kind act could spur a chain reaction. The organization was started by Rachel Scott's family. Scott died in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and was known for her kind heart and positive attitude, the website reads.

Azadeh Baghai is a third grade teacher and runs the Kindness and Compassion Club at Top of the World. She said she's seen firsthand the positive effects of the program. Kids are able to write a positive note to a friend, teacher or administrator. The paper is then made into links, which are connected and strung up in the school.

"It brings a smile to all their faces — the kid writing it and the kid receiving it," she said.

"Thank you for being such a nice friend," one link read. Another thanked a friend for helping to carry in the lunch basket.

Rachel's Challenge, which is in its third year at Top of the World, definitely has made the kids more aware of how they treat each other, she said. She's noticed more kindness and compassion.

Counselor Jami Parsons said the school has seen a decrease in bullying since adopting the challenge. She said part of the program's success is due to the positive reinforcement. Instead of telling children what they can't do, tell them how to act kindly and reward them for good behavior.

"It kind of brightens your day when you get one," Baghai said. "Sometimes you forget to say 'thank you' or tell a person how awesome they are."


Twitter: @joannaclay

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