Rachel's Challenge: Naaman Forest High helps abused children

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by MEAGAN HARRIS

WFAA

Posted on January 7, 2011 at 4:27 PM

GARLAND- When Naaman Forest High School took on Rachel's Challenge four years ago, the first thing its adviser did was search for a need in the community. The next year, students embraced Jonathan's Place, a Garland shelter for abused children.

On Saturday, students put together a Christmas party for the kids of Jonathan's Place. They often work one-on-one with the children. The students have built a relationship with the kids.  Each month, they take them to various events that they otherwise wouldn't get to attend. They pay for those outings with money raised over the school year. Typically, the students raise around $3,000 during the school year.

The Rachel's Challenge club also takes care of any need that arises at the school, from mentoring, to helping students, who may be facing hardships at home.

For adviser Lutitia Featherson, the program answered a calling to help others. Featherson says she had a hard life. It was a school counselor who encouraged her to make something of herself. Now she's returning that favor.

When Darrell Scott, the father of a Columbine High School shooting victim, spoke at Naaman Forest four years ago, Featherston could relate to his desire to do something positive. "Instead of her father saying 'why me?' he decided to turn the tragedy into this big program." Featherston says it's starting a chain reaction in others.

Darrell Scott started Rachel's Challenge after reading his daughters diary following her death. She wrote about making an impact on the world. Her ideas are spreading. Rachel's message was simple. She believed that one good deed could lead to another - that simple kindness could make a big difference.

WFAA is teaming up with Rachel's Challenge to get the program in districts across North Texas. Since launching the partnership in August, nearly 100 schools have taken the challenge.

E-mail: mharris@wfaa.com

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