The Challenge Day program will return to the Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) on October 28 and 29, and volunteers are still needed for both days.
Challenge Day encourages inclusiveness, acceptance and compassion among students while at school and in the community. Grade 9 students at ECS will again attend sessions.
It's the third straight school year that ECS has hosted the Challenge Day program.
Local Challenge Day committee member Nancy Zeleny said Challenge Day opens with a festive atmosphere, as students enter the school's gymnasium amid clapping, cheering and loud music. From there, youth and adults engage in ice-breaker games that allow them to interact.
Once the games are finished, the more serious aspect of Challenge Day begins, as personal issues are addressed in small group settings.
“It allows them to believe that they can feel free to think about their feelings, and how they are actually feeling, and then, of course, it goes into the (themes of) oppression, bullying and discrimination that happen daily, not only in school hallways, but also outside of school,” said Zeleny.
With this year's Grade 9s going through Challenge Day, it means that the bulk of students currently attending ECS will have had the Challenge Day experience since it first appeared in Estevan in March of 2012.
Challenge Day was also in Estevan last October.
Zeleny said that ECS has experienced a lot of benefits from Challenge Day. She has heard stories of students stepping in to prevent bullying, and to stick up for peers.
“That's what Challenge Day does: it gives them the tools that they need to stand up and make an impact, and to put an end to something they see in the hallway that they know isn't right,” said Zeleny.
A lot of the adults who have been part of Challenge Day in the past are returning to help out this year. One adult is bringing six new workers with her.
“We get positive feedback constantly from the adult population, along with the youth, obviously, from the school,” said Zeleny.
But they could still use a few more volunteers.
Once Challenge Day is finished in Estevan, it will move on to the Arcola School for a one-day visit on October 30.