ARLINGTON Add Arlington Martin High School to the list of schools taking Rachel's Challenge.

A big kick-off rally is planned for next week.

The person leading the charge is Principal Melinda Reeves, who knows the value of the program because she's seen it work.

About five years ago, we brought Rachel's Challenge to Decatur High School when I was principal there, Reeves said.

The projects the students chose were as varied as the students themselves.

They looked for kids that were grieving and had lost loved ones and they reached out to them; there were some that picked up trash on the parking lot, and some of them went to the elementary school and did some service and some mentoring, Reeves said. The kids chose what they thought was a need, and we had people from the community that actually were involved with the program to keep circles going.

The circles the chains are the center of Rachel's Challenge, where students collect chains for good deeds.

Now Melinda Reeves is at a school with 3,400 students; more students and more opportunity to grow, learn, and blossom.

What I want to see is more compassion, she said. I want to see the kids really take ownership of how to start a chain reaction of kindness ... and I want them to think every day about something nice that they can do for somebody else.

There are two big Rachel's Challenge events next week:

School superintendents and other school leaders will get together Tuesday October 5 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to learn about the program; it's not too late to sign up.

On Wednesday October 6, there's the presentation and training for Arlington Martin High school students.

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