Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Taking the Challenge

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to serve as a volunteer facilitator for the Putnam City North Challenge day which was sponsored by the Putnam City Schools Foundation The Challenge day program has been around for more than 20 years and recently became even more well known thanks to a feature program on MTV of a visit to PC West. The target audience for this amazing day was the freshman class which is one of the largest to attend PC North in several years.

It is hard to be a kid these days. This is something I am well aware of as a person that does a lot of work with youth. Having seen the show and spoken to a previous Challenge Days volunteer, I had a pretty good idea of how the day would go and the questions that would be presented. My initial guess was that most of the kids would have seen the MTV show and as a result would also have known what to expect. It turns out that I was still surprised of the result of the day. My surprise I would say was not near as great as that of the kids that were part of this day.

I was assigned to a group of five and was nervous about how we would connect. Looking into their eyes, I saw the potential of who they could be and at the same time felt deeply the pain of who they were (or at least thought they were). By the end of the day four of the five were in tears and expressed much about the challenges they were facing. I heard stories about broken relationships, broken hearts and broken dreams.

I could go on and on about the courage and first steps of change I saw but will save that for a later post. What I want to express for you today is the incredible opportunity we have to make a difference for these kids. Now is the time to look in the mirror and truly ask yourself what kind of parent and example you are being for your child. Are you doing all you can to support them? Do you love your spouse as you would hope your child would be loved someday? Are you as close to God as you would hope for them? When was the last time you asked your child about his or her dreams and then sat with mind and ears open to just listen?

Changing the world sometimes starts as simply as making changes at home and admitting our own fallacies.

My change starts now with my own son and wife. What about you? Will you join the challenge?


  1. David, Thank you for being a part of this experience and for writing about it here.
    Some look at the enormity of today's problems and feel hopeless, but you are right, the way to make a difference is for each of us, and a lot of us to reach out and touch someone, one at a time. Eventually it adds up to more than any of us individually could imagine.
    Thanks! - @nwokc - Jill McCartney NW OKC Chamber

  2. Great job in giving back to the community! Everyone should donate some of their time helping other, especially the less fortunate.

  3. Thank you so much to all of you who gave of themselves to volunteer for Challenge Day in one of our Putnam City high schools. I'm sure everyone who has experienced it would agree it makes a powerful, positive impact on our students.
    Anyone who would be interested in volunteering for Challenge Day next year, please contact the Putnam City Foundation office at dfloresca@putnamcityschools.org. To find out about all the ways the Foundation supports our district, log onto our website at www.pcf4kids.org.
    David, thank you so much for writing about this positive, powerful Challenge Day program and truly capturing the importance of bringing it to our high schools.
    P.S. Did you know Challenge Day was featured in an interview betweeen Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw on the Today Show this morning? Take a look! http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/#40565326