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Community Health Needs Assessment

Maine High Schools Host Challenge Days for Students

Posted: 11/07/2013

Day-long Sessions Sponsored and Coordinated by Acadia Hospital
 
Hermon, topsham, Millinocket Me—Over 400 Maine high school students and their adult facilitators experienced the powerful one day program called Challenge Day during the week of November 4. Mt. Ararat in Topsham hosted two days, while Hermon hosted a day and Stearns and Schenck High Schools partnered for one day in the greater Millinocket area, inviting a special team of student leaders from Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln to join them. The days are underwritten by Acadia Hospital, which also coordinates the schedule for the schools. It is part of Acadia’s youth outreach programming, and the hospital has supported Challenge Days in Maine schools for over a decade.
 
Challenge Day exposed the students to a day they will never forget. The non-profit organization Challenge Day creates connection and support among participants, and inspires people to live in an environment of compassion, acceptance and respect.

The program encouraged the students to Notice, Choose, and Act, and to be a force for positive change in their own lives and the lives of their fellow students. The students and volunteer adult facilitators experienced a series of games, activities, group discussions, icebreakers and trust-building exercises that helped them learn how to break down the walls of separation and create new levels of respect and communication with their peers, their teachers, their parents and themselves.

Students from each school echoed similar sentiments about the Day. During the final portion of the program, when participants are encouraged to take the microphone and share their thoughts, one Hermon High School student urged his fellow classmates to, “Be there for one another; be kind and not judgmental. As you grow older you won’t be remembered for what clothes you wore, but how you treated others.”

The value to the schools was evident, according to Mt. Ararat Social Worker Mimi Sorg, “Both days were great! It was nice to see so many students engaged and making the most of the Challenge Day experience. We have plans on continuing with the Challenge Day themes throughout the school year.” Plans are already underway for coordinating another series of Challenge Days in the fall of 2014.

Challenge Day is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the positive transformation of social forces within schools and communities through the power of love, compassion and tolerance.

Acadia Hospital is a fully accredited and licensed non-profit psychiatric hospital whose mission it is to empower people to improve their lives. For more information please go to: www.acadiahospital.org.

Acadia and the participating schools are recognized by Challenge Day as the Pine Tree Circle of Change, one of the only Circles in New England.

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