Local

Rachel's Challenge-inspired club expands beyond mentoring

JOHNSBURG – A Johnsburg Junior High School mentoring club is looking to make an impact in the community, its adviser said.

The program, called B.E.A.R. Club, was created last year for eighth-graders after the Rachel's Challenge program visited the school. The group chose the name, which stands for Bearers of Empathy and Respect.

Rachel's Challenge is an anti-bully campaign that encourages students to reach out to their peers. It is based on the writings of Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first victim in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.

This year, the program was expanded and a club was created for seventh-graders, adviser Katie Blount said.

The students primarily work as mentors, going into special education classes and working with younger children to build relationships and share stories, but the students decided they wanted to do more, she said.

"They're eager to do something," Blount said. "They want to feel like they're making difference."

A group of students participated in the Human Race in McHenry, raising $300 for local charities. The club also is heading out Saturday to Home of the Sparrow's recently built low-rent duplexes to lay seed and perhaps plant perennials.

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