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Lecture

SOC 4010 Lecture Notes - Black Press, Car Rental


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 4010
Professor
J.Bruce Morton

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What is Challenge Day
Challenge Day is a 501 c(3)non-profit organization that helps people learn to connect
through powerful, life-changing programs in their schools and communities. The day-long,
interactive Challenge Day program provides teens and adults with tools to tear down the walls of
separation, and inspires participants to live, study, and work in an encouraging environment of
acceptance, love, and respect. (www.challengeday.org FAQ page).”
Challenge Day brings together “students from grades eight to twelve with volunteers and
facilitators” in a day of “sharing, personal exploration and growth (Tribune Nov 2010).” It
Challenges all participants to “step out of their comfort zones, open their hearts, and build
connections with others (The Weekly Anchor 2010).”
Challenge Day is a place where issues of “bullying, racism and violence” are brought to
the attention of students and other participants whilst also providing a safe space to discuss
personal experiences and learn attentive listening skills (Tribune Nov 2010). With this in mind
the day helps everyone understand that they are not alone in the experiences they have had, no
matter how traumatic (Tribune Nov 2010).
Challenge Day Vision, Mission and Goals
“Challenge day’s vision is that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved
and celebrated” and thus their mission “is to provide youth and their communities with
experiential programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the
celebration of diversity, truth, and full expression. (www.challengeday.org Home Page)
Challenge Day manages this throughout the day by integrating the following goals into their
activities, on their posters and promotion paraphernalia:
Notice: Wake up to how people are treating one another
Choose: Choose the school and life of your dreams
Act: Take action to make your dreams a reality (www.challengeday.org Program Page).”
Another main goal of the Challenge Day program is to promote an increase of “personal
power and self-esteem” and to allow participating students, teachers, facilitators and adults to
“speak out about what is really going on with them (The Weekly Anchor 2010).” This then
translates to “compassion and respect in schools and communities” which is vital in the fight
against bullying and violence that are a factor in many students lives.
Challenge Day Activities
Challenge Day is a day filled with “games, activities and trust building exercises to help
develop new levels of empathy and respect for each other (The Weekly Anchor 2010).” An
example of one of the guard dropping games is the “Laboratory of Love” where all participants
dance, link arms, jump up and down, high five and more (The Chilliwack Progress 2011). The
initial fun activities then lead into more in-depth, real, activities where students, adults and
facilitators explore themselves, listen to others and break down barriers. One of the main
activities for this is the “if you really knew me” exercise where small groups sit in a circle and
take turns saying “if you really knew me then you would know....” Although this sounds really
simple and uneventful the stories that come from this can be extremely powerful, emotional and
sometimes can be a narrative that they have never revealed before to anyone. And finally the
power of Challenge Day really comes through from the “imaginary line” task where everyone is
“instructed to cross if their answer to a question was affirmative (The Chilliwack Progress
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2011).” The questions start off neutral such as Have you ever been teased?and become more
intense such as “Have you ever lived with violence?” and many more (The Chilliwack Progress
2011). The act of crossing the line and joining your peers and seeing who has been through the
same things you have is extremely powerful and emotional.
For more information on the activities presented at Challenge Day and to see how the day
impacts many students involved see the following web pages.
http://www.mtv.com/shows/if_you_really_knew_me/series.jhtml
http://www.challengeday.org/videos.php
Results of Challenge Day
Figure 1 and 2 both show the results of several self-report surveys of Challenge Day
participants conducted by Challenge Day facilitators. Both figures 1 and 2 show the number of
students in years 2008-2010 and 2010-2011 who had increased positive feelings in a selection of
categories.
Figure 1
Figure 2
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2008-2010
2010-2011
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