Activities that make a difference are coming up in the Westerville City School District.

Challenge Day will be held Monday, Nov. 13, at Westerville South High School; Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Westerville North High School and Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 15 and 16, at Westerville Central High School.

Challenge Day is an anti-bullying program that teaches students and community mentors about diversity and acceptance.

It is offered to all Westerville high school students.

The program occurs during the school day with 100-plus students per school participating in a series of activities designed to address issues such as bullying, stereotypes and violence.

As the day progresses, students get to know themselves and one another better, developing greater understanding, acceptance and new friendships.

Tracy Davidson, Westerville Education Challenge president, said the program includes at least one adult for every four students.

Adult participants include school staffers, administrators, parents and even interested community members and outside volunteers.

"We call these adults 'Adult Participants' and they participate fully in the program along with the students," Davidson said. "This means the volunteer will be willing to play, to listen and be willing to share about themselves.

"While we understand this can sometimes be scary even for adults, we only ask that you share what you are comfortable with," she said.

She said no one would be asked to volunteer anything they didn't want to.

"We ask volunteers to arrive 30 minutes early for a morning meeting before the Challenge Day starts, commit to participate in the entire day, and stay 30 minutes after the day ends for a wrap-up meeting," Davidson said.

Anyone who would like to volunteer should use the following: https://www.westervilleeducationchallenge.org/what-we-do-1/

Over the past 10 years, Challenge Day has touched the lives of nearly 5,000 Westerville students, said Stephanie Martin, teacher and Challenge Day coordinator.

On Oct. 20, adults and students teamed up to plant 5,000 daffodils and beautify high school campuses to commemorate the decade-long Challenge Day tradition.

"Words cannot truly express how much Challenge Day means to our students," Martin said.

Westerville Education Challenge was established in 2009 by a group of parents and community members who sought to raise private support for public education in the Westerville schools.

The initial desire was to provide funding and a long-term financial solution for the Challenge Day program. Westerville Education Challenge has donated more than $70,000 to the Westerville City School District to support Challenge Day and grants for educators.

To learn more about Westerville Education Challenge and Challenge Day, visit westervilleeducationchallenge.org.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla