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Catholic Charities In-School Social Work Program Hosts Rachel's Challenge at Notre Dame Academy

by jtan

Free Evening Presentation Set for Parents, Community in St. Martin of Tours Church

Fri, Feb 21st 2014 09:00 am

BUFFALO, NY, February 21, 2014 - Catholic Charities' In-School Social Work Program (ISSWP) will host Rachel's Challenge at Notre Dame Academy in Buffalo on March 4. The day of events will be capped with a free evening presentation open to parents and the community.

Rachel's Challenge started in memory of the first victim of the Columbine high school shootings in Colorado, and works to equip and inspire individuals to replace acts of violence, bullying and negativity with acts of respect, kindness and compassion. It was founded by Rachel's father and step-mom, Darrell Scott and Sandy, in effort to continue Rachel's dream of making the world a better place.

Elementary and  middle school assemblies are planned, as well a break-out group for 100 students for more in-depth discussion of how to implement acceptance at Notre Dame Academy.

Parents and the general public are invited to the evening presentation, planned for March 4 at 6:30 p.m. in St. Martin of Tours Church at 1140 Abbott Road, across the street from the school. The presentation will focus on how to inspire, equip and empower children and teens to affect permanent and positive change.

The presentations, according to Rachel's Challenge, teach schools how to create a safe learning environment for all students by re-establishing civility and delivering proactive anecdotes to school violence and bullying. They aim to provide students with social and emotional education that is colorblind and culturally relevant, and to improve academic achievement by engaging students' hearts, heads and hands in the learning process.

Rachel had written in her diary, "I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go."

Since its inception, more than 17 million people have heard Rachel's story around the world, and the program credits its efforts with the prevention of at least eight school shootings and more than 500 suicides.

Catholic Charities' ISSWP focuses on enhancing student success by providing comprehensive character development services for students through short-term individual sessions, small groups and classroom presentations. Consultation services are available for parents, teachers and principals as well as staff development for teachers and principals to expand strategies and interventions for strengthening student character.

Funded through a grant from Fidelis Care, the program is also offered at Our Lady of Black Rock and St. Joseph-University schools, both in Buffalo, Catholic Academy in Niagara Falls and Niagara Catholic High School serving the seventh and eighth grade students, and St. Francis of Assisi in the city of Tonawanda.

More information on Rachel's Challenge can be found at

For 90 years, Catholic Charities has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in Western New York. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assesses clients for other needs to ensure long-term success. It is the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York. For the fifth consecutive year, Catholic Charities has attained the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings for quality of service by the Council of Accreditation.

For more information about this program and other Catholic Charities services, go to or call (716) 218-1400.

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