Last week, two Southwestern Christian University staff members took a day away from their normal office duties and volunteered their time to participate in “Challenge Day” at a local metro high school. Hosted by Putnam City North High School, Jessie Burpo and Kasey Gardner spent the entire workday on Wednesday in the school’s athletic facility serving as adult facilitators for the event.
Challenge Day, which has recently been lauded by popular television programs such as MTV and Oprah, is a program that targets youth, challenging them to show love and compassion to each other instead of hatred and animosity. Students participated in several dynamic role-playing activities throughout the day, including one titled “If You Really Knew Me”, which recently had its own series on MTV. The exercise helps students develop rapport and empathy with their classmates, discover things about them they may have never known before, and bring them closer together, hopefully helping them realize they share many things in common rather than focus on their differences.
Burpo and Gardner worked alongside a dozen other adult facilitators in the “Challenge Day” events as if they were students. Their job was to motivate the students to seriously consider the role-playing activities, become involved in them with the students, and encourage them to peacefully solve tough situations and problems by understanding the other person’s viewpoint.
“I was surprised how much Challenge Day impacted the students. They were motivated to not only change their own actions, but to help change their school and surrounding community. I feel so honored to have been a part of such a great event. I can't wait to volunteer again next year.” Burpo said.
“We didn’t have this activity when I was in high school and I was very impressed with its effectiveness,” Gardner echoed.
Both Burpo and Gardner have agreed the day was a huge success and wouldn’t mind helping out again next year.
Posted on Mon, December 6, 2010
by Kasey Gardner