Challenge Day チャレンジデイ

So, my life has been hectic, and a week has been passing by as I blink. I am trying to be present in each moment, but it just seems difficult as I have so many things that I need to think ahead. So, I breathe. I close my eyes for a moment and try to feel gravity of this planet, grounding myself.

On January 22nd and 23rd, Loren, I, and our two friends went to Oahu to attend Challenge Day as volunteers. Loren and I have been fascinated with this program called Challenge Day. This was Loren's fifth or sixth time to volunteer, and it was my second time.

Challenge Day is a program developed for intermediate and high school students to appreciate each other. Through various activities, students recognize how much they all experienced pain, discrimination, alienation, and bullying in their lives. According to Loren, by doing so, it facilitates transformation in them to realize to be the change they want to see in the world like Mahatma Gandhi said.

My first time to ever experience Challenge Day was when I volunteered at Lokelani Intermediate School last summer. Seeing how much pain those young students were already going through at their young age was a heart breaking. At the same time, I was inspired to see those hurt children started to open their hearts a little by little and brought shine on their eyes again.

Challenge Day starts off with fun activities that help students to get loosened with each other. Through those activities, they gradually create a safe atmosphere for themselves to be who they are. There are two facilitators who are professionally trained to carry an all-day long Challenge Day. By the time they do a power shuffle, most of the students are in tears. Adult volunteers are there to hold the space for students, not to teach them or advise them.

When Loren told me that there would be a Challenge Day at Kalaheo High School in Kailua, I told him that I wanted to volunteer again.

Volunteers do not get paid, and for us, we paid the airfare, rental car, hotel, and food on our own. However, for us, we knew that the experience we would get would worth them.
We volunteered for two days, and two of our friends enjoyed their first experience of Challenge Day as well. It is hard to experience what Challenge Day is like. The best way to learn is to be a volunteer for a day. Another way is to watch a short movie about it :)

(Photo above: Kahaleo High Schoo's gym where Challenge Day was held.)











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