Breaking Down Barriers
Drug and alcohol abuse and bullying in schools are only symptoms of the real problems students face, Yvonne says. "The biggest problems in our schools today, we believe, are separation, isolation and loneliness," she says. "If our kids are feeling lonely, it's not because there's a lack of people. It's because there's a lack of love and connection between them."
Another major reason kids are on edge is because they often feel their parents' stress from daily life or frustrations over what it takes to raise their children.
One of the goals of Challenge Day is to work past the students' feelings of stress and isolation and help them form a bond with each other. "The kids that don't know each other from different cliques, backgrounds, belief systems, skin color...they're going to come together in here. What they're going to basically find out by the end of the day is that we're much more alike than we are different," Yvonne says.
At first, Lisa admits she was cynical about the idea. "I thought, 'Challenge Day? We're going to do something called Challenge Day?' And I kept thinking about when I was in high school and I was cynical and I thought everything was stupid," she says. "But I've got to tell you...something happened at school that day that was really remarkable."