From Aug. 30th-Sept. 1, many in the community of Juneau had the opportunity to experience the acclaimed Challenge Day program held at Thunder Mountain High School. It brought together teenage students, teachers, school counselors, parents and members of the community for a highly intense, emotional day of fun, silliness, sharing, caring and sadness (and of course Jon's dance moves and air guitar). Challenge Day brought out the best in all of us who participated and it reminded us that we are really the same and that we all need to be the change in order to build a better community.
We were overwhelmed by the response from the community. Over 265 students and 75 adult volunteers participated over the course of the three days. At the end of each day lives were changed in a way that we will never forget.
What we learned was that the youth see all three high schools as a part of our community and that the Challenge Day program needs to be brought to everyone so that we can all be part of the change. Our community needs to break down the barriers that hinder our progress; we are not buildings of brick and mortar but a community of unique and special individuals who need one another to be successful. The teens were clear they want a change in the climate of our community; they want us as adults to listen and support them in a way that reflects their issues and need for respect, and that they in turn will expect it from one another.
We are currently working to bring Challenge Day to the students of Juneau-Douglas High School and YaaKoosge DaaKahidi High School this school year. However, we require your support and sponsorship to make this happen. If you are interested in sponsoring Challenge Day, please contact Christine Inc. at 789-3941 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Be part of the change and sign up!
In closing, this event would not have occurred without the support and assistance of the Alaska Association of School Boards, the Alaska Division of Behavioral Health, United Way, AWARE, Subway, Tiffany Mahle, Jessica Ryan, Mark Choate, Jon and Vicki (our Challenge Day facilitators), Kathy McKasland, Kelly Niemann, Glenn Gelbrich, Dave Newton, Randi Miller, Caitlin Riley, Bonnie Lanz, Mischa Jackson, Kristin Garot, Seth Beebe, Mary Soltys, Janet Lopez, Becky Thomas, Jessica Brown, Wayne Kline, David Voth, Ati Nasiah, Michelle Wilson, Diedra Diamond, Bunti Reed, Erik Lundquist, Nate Heck, Corey Pavitt, Jim Kearns, Sally Willson, Sondra Sexton-Jones, Victoria Scharen, Patricia Graham, Aaron Bensen, Carol May, Patti Carlson, Vance Sanders, Andi Story, Kathleen Galau, Jacinda Ryan, Casady Herding, Warren Dorman, Brandon Mahle, Destiny Sargant, Ildiko Nylen, Cynthia Marx, Kristin Bartlett, Toni Jo Dalman, Nicole Blumenshine, Ruth Danner, Kathy Huston, Shannon West, Julia Erickson, Chris Peterson, Patty Newman, Rhonda Kickok, Laury Scandling, Scot Fiscus, Ron Dangel, Cathy Munoz, Dan Johnson, Lori King, Debbie Banaszd, Hunter Silides, Steve Byers, Karin Massey, Karen Petersen, Jan Guertin and the students of Thunder Mountain High School. Our apologies to anyone we may have missed.