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Community Health Needs Assessment

Maine High Schools Engage Students with Challenge Days

Posted: 12/01/2015

Day-long Sessions Sponsored and Coordinated by Acadia Hospital

HERMON, PITTSFIELD, TOPSHAM, ME—Over 400 Maine high school students and their adult facilitators experienced the powerful one day program called Challenge Day in November. Maine Central Institute (MCI) in Pittsfield hosted two days, while Hermon and Mt. Ararat in Topsham each hosted a day. 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.

The value to the schools was evident, according to MCI Social Worker Mimi Sorg, “This was the first year MCI participated and the students and volunteer facilitators were amazed by the program and will be supporting ongoing Challenge Day efforts. I have seen incredible things happen to and between students, and without a doubt they attribute it to the amazing experience of Challenge Day.” Plans are already underway for coordinating another series of Challenge Days in the fall of 2016.

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. 

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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