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Letter to the Editor: A welcome gift

— A welcome gift

To the editor:

As many of you may know YOUTHTHINK has brought the Challenge Day program to our area youth for the past eight years.

Challenge Day is an opportunity for the youth of our community and adult volunteers to come together for a day that truly embraces the Challenge Day goal of creating an environment where every person feels safe, loved and celebrated.

The program would never happen without the cooperation from our schools and especially over the past two years the incredible staff at The Dalles Middle School. I wish I could name every organization that has supported YOUTHTHINK and Challenge Day but there is a word limit so please know I mean “YOU” and you have the thanks of myself and the many youth whose lives have been forever changed because you not only told them you cared but showed them.

As great as Challenge Day has been there was something extra special this year. This last September Corliss Marsh approached me about a group of women she was aware of who were interested in promoting a strong anti-bullying message for our youth. Corliss was familiar with Challenge Day and thought it might be a great fit.

The idea was to make leis for each of the Challenge Day participants to symbolize that bullying did not have to be a part of our culture and that it stops with each of us individually.

YOUTHTHINK thought the idea was great. Corliss asked how many leis would be needed. I hesitantly shared that we would probably need 300.

Remember this was September and Challenge Day was to be held in less than two months.

Never underestimate the power of a group of women who can knit. Bingo … two months latter Corliss delivered not just 300 leis but 468. The leis were a huge hit. My only regret was that these wonderful women never saw or heard the standing ovation that erupted by the 296 participants that felt and heard their message loud and clear! Thank you for the lasting gift you gave to our youth and helping them see that they can be the “change they wish to see in the world.”

Debby Jones


The Dalles


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