A district wide initiative began three years ago called Rachel’s Challenge to promote a positive school climate. Click on this link for more info about this program. https://rachelschallenge.org/
Guidance counselors from a few buildings were delegated the task of implementing the Friends of Rachel Club (FOR Club) for the students in their building as a part of this district wide initiative. Students who participate in FOR Club brainstorm, plan, and lead activities at school to promote Rachel Scott’s 5 Challenges:
Look for the best in others. We strive to remove prejudices.
Dream big. We set high goals and are committed to those goals.
Choose positive influences. We surround ourselves with positive people.
Speak with kindness. Words can both hurt and heal.
Start your own chain reaction. How far can your positive influence go?
Tanis Rose (Middle School School Counselor) and Becky Monhemius (8th grade Language Arts teacher) are the advisors of the Middle School FOR Club. FOR club is a very popular club with over 75 members in 7th and 8th grade. Mrs. Rose explains that the kids know this is a no judgement zone and everyone is welcome. Each member has an opportunity to share their ideas and talents, to be fully accepted, and to build close friendships. The goal of each advisor and member is to better their school and community and promote positive relationships among peers.
The FOR club is extremely active at the middle school and in the Mars Community. Mrs. Rose and Mrs. Monhemius devote numerous hours outside of school time preparing for FOR Club events, advising after school club activities and organizing community service opportunities.
Some examples of FOR Club events include: the Police Officer Appreciation Luncheon and The American Heart Association Donation Drive, which includes events like “Stuck for a Buck” where students can tape their teachers to the wall, a photo booth and a table of prizes with all proceeds benefiting the heart association. In addition, this club hosts various in school theme weeks and special awareness days such as Children’s Grief Awareness day. Prior to the pandemic, FOR club would volunteer once a month to play bingo with the residents of St. Johns.
Thousands of dollars in donations for charities have been collected by this club. All activities including the police luncheon, prizes/raffle items for the various donation drives and supplies for events are funded by the advisors with the help of parents and staff members. Despite being denied twice for a supplemental activity stipend, these advisors are still going above and beyond the expectations the district has set when they created this program as a district initiative.
Mrs. Rose and Mrs. Monhemius say, “We see the excitement and joy the students get from helping each other and the community so we do what we can to make this a great experience for the students”.