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"Rachel's Challenge" Presented at McKinney Theater
by: Mary Ann Balmuth

Get inspired at a free presentation of Rachel’s Challenge taking place from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, February 8 at Saddleback College’s McKinney Theatre.

Sponsored by the college’s Five Minute Project, the program publicizes the story of Rachel Scott, the first person killed in Columbine High School’s shootings on April 20, 1999. After the tragic death of their daughter, Rachel’s family found an essay entitled “My Ethics, My Code of Life” that Rachel had written, challenging readers to show kindness and compassion to others. Inspired by their daughter’s words, the grieving parents began a movement in Rachel’s name to share their daughter’s idea that people can make other people’s lives better by performing deliberate acts of kindness.

To date, more than 11 million people have heard Rachel’s story and are finding ways to meet her challenge in schools, clubs and communities across the nation.

At their upcoming presentation, the Five Minute Project will recount the history of Rachel’s Challenge and explain what others can do to get involved. Suggested activities include participating in motivational presentations at Middle and Elementary schools to encourage students to help the community and each other; helping present kindness awards to local students and faculty; wearing blue ribbons to show belief in kindness and compassion; and participating in random acts of kindness such as paying for someone else’s coffee, giving someone a flower or telling a person in your life how important they are to you.

In addition to the Saddleback College program, Rachel’s Challenge has been embraced by the City of Mission Viejo through its Community of Character Committee. In October 2009, a presentation about Rachel was made to more than 1600 local students at Newhart Middle School and the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center. After hearing Rachel’s story, kids signed banners to take the challenge. Shortly afterwards, teachers and parents reported that they had seen many children perform acts of kindness – including some students who apologized to other for bullying.

On April 25, local organizations and residents will also gather at Oso Viejo Park to participate in a Links of Character event. Participants will write about acts of caring and kindness. Entries will then be formed into a five-mile chain of compassion in Mission Viejo.

For more information about the Saddleback College event, visit Information about Rachel’s Challenge: The McKinney Theatre is located on the campus of Saddleback College at 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo. Free parking for the Rachel’s Challenge event is available in Lots 9 and 10.



Mary Anne Balmuth is a freelance writer, editor, and tutor who makes her home in Mission Viejo, California. Her past experience includes an eight-year stint as Calendar Editor for Orange County's Parenting Magazine. Her many credits include articles for local, regional, and national publications. Log on to Mary Anne Balmuth's official website at

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