Impact

Each Challenge Day program follows a core script derived from 30 years of experience providing powerful workshops in schools and communities. Research shows that Challenge Day develops important leadership and social and emotional skills

Why Challenge Day?

Our vision is still far from being realized. For too many teens, bullying, violence, emotional trauma and alienation are part of a typical school day. Research shows that for every 100 teens in school:

  • 47 have experienced some form of physical assault
  • 30 feel sad or hopeless a lot of the time
  • 28 are bullied
  • 20 are living in poverty
  • 17 have thought seriously about attempting suicide
  • 13 females have experienced physical or sexual dating violence
  • 12 have had adverse life experiences that can harm their health and development
  • 8 attempted suicide

These problems reduce learning, increase discipline problems, and can result in physical harm or even death. With your help, we can make a difference in the ability of young people to be in a social and emotional environment where they can thrive.

Data sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Youth Risk Behavior Study (2013); Child Trends Data Bank (2013, 2014); Census Bureau 2014

Our Impact

Schools
Years
million
Students & Adults
Challenge Day Research 2015-16 Youth Impact

Our surveys of youth participants show that following Challenge Day:

93% would recommend the program to friends and family

91% are more supportive of others

90% think the skills taught during Challenge Day will be helpful to them in their personal life

89% are more accepting of other students including those who are different in some way

89% are more likely to help others

89% are more aware that their actions affect others

89% are more likely to try to understand and accept others

89% are more comfortable listening to others

88% are more aware of the effects of bullying

87% are more understanding of other people’s experiences

87% are more likely to be friendly to new people at school

85% are more aware of the effects of teasing

85% are more hopeful that a school where people treat each other with respect and acceptance is possible

84% are more hopeful about their future

83% are more likely to speak up when seeing someone bullied

83% are more aware of how one group’s mistreatment of another group affects them

82% are more likely to work on improving relationships

81% are more convinced that they can make life whatever they want it to be

80% are more connected to other students and adults

76% are more accepting of themselves

2015-16 Adult Impact

Our surveys of adult participants show that following Challenge Day:

98% would recommend the program to friends and family

96% think the skills taught during Challenge Day will be helpful to them in their personal life

94% are more understanding of other people’s experiences

93% are more hopeful that a school where people treat each other with respect and acceptance is possible

92% are more likely to work on improving relationships

90% are more connected to other students and adults

90% are more convinced that they can make a difference in other’s lives

89% are more accepting of others including those who are different in some way

88% are more likely to speak up when seeing someone bullied

89% are more likely to try to understand and accept others

89% are more comfortable listening to others

88% are more aware of the effects of bullying

88% are more aware that their actions affect others

87% are more aware of the effects of teasing and bullying

87% are more aware of how one group’s mistreatment of another group affects them

83% are more accepting of themselves

External Evaluations

Challenge Day develops leadership and social and emotional skills in students.1 Validated outcomes include these vital educational and life effectiveness skills:

Intellectual Flexibility – youth that demonstrate this attribute are open to new ideas, are adaptable and flexible in their thinking, and can change opinions easily if there is a better idea or way of doing activities and projects. They can also see and understand perspectives different than their own2

Task Leadership – youth that demonstrate this attribute can successfully enroll people to participant in tasks, activities, and projects. Youth with this attribute believe that they can productively lead others in a positive and effective manner.

Emotional Control – youth that demonstrate this attribute believe that they can stay calm in stressful situations and overcome anxiety quickly when things do go wrong and recover and resolve the problem efficiently.

Self Confidence – youth that demonstrate this attribute believe that they have the ability to do anything they put their mind to and they are confident they will succeed.

Social competence – youth that demonstrate this attribute have a high degree of self-perceived ability in social interactions. They have a high degree of confidence in their ability to positively relate with others.

Challenge Day provides growth in other areas as well. After a program, youth participants:

  • Increase their skills in noticing oppression and isolation
  • Practice safe and effective intervention tools in the midst of conflict
  • Perform acts of change in their schools and communities3

At Challenge Day, we invite youth to make at least one conscious, positive contribution (also known as an act of change) each day in their communities and schools. The acts of change youth most often did after a Challenge Day are as follows4:

  • Helped peers and family
  • Connected and reached out to peers
  • Gave hugs and expressed love
  • Participated in community service
  • Resolved conflict
  • Took care of self

By participating in Challenge Day, youth learn to accept themselves completely for who they are just the way they are, look through the eyes of acceptance, love, and respect, and live their life in service. This is the work of Challenge Day!

1. Nail, Terry. Dissertation: Evaluation of Life Effectiveness and Leadership Development in a Challenge Day Program for High School Students, Library of Congress, 2007.
2. Neill, James et al., Life Effectiveness Questionnaire, 2003.
3. Nail, Terry, 2007.
4. Ibid.

Case Studies

2011 - Duval County, Jacksonville, FL
A 2011 survey conducted at Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), in Jacksonville Florida, sought to (a) assess students’ perceptions of changes in their attitudes and behaviors following Challenge Day and (b) gain awareness of issues currently being faced by students. The survey's conclusion lists a number of positive outcomes, which "included increased awareness, safety, social responsibility, acceptance of self and others, connection, expression, optimism regarding the future, and academic goal-setting." Duval County, Jacksonville, Florida Survey, June 2011

2007 - Jefferson High School, Daly City, CA
In a 2007 outcome-based evaluation measuring improved life effectiveness and developed leadership in high school students at Jefferson High School, the study indicated that Challenge Day and its follow-up Challenger Program improved life effectiveness related to social competence, intellectual flexibility, task leadership, emotional control, and self- confidence. Additionally, the results indicated that this program developed leadership in high school students. Additionally, the results of the study indicated increased skills in noticing oppression and isolation, practicing safe and effective intervention tools, and demonstrating acts of integrity. The study also found that there was a significant increase in participants standing up for themselves and for others. Evaluation of Life Effectiveness and Leadership Development
(abstract), Jefferson School District, Daly City, CA, 2007

2005 - Bangor High School, Bangor, MI
In a 2005 Study measuring positive change in school climate at Bangor High School, students were administered a Likert-type survey prior to and following implementation of Challenge Day programs. Results indicated improvements in six of eight items associated with improved school climate. Improvements also occurred in seven of nine items associated with students feeling welcomed at school. School Climate Study, Bangor High School, Bangor, Michigan, 2005

"There are many programs available which tell kids how and why bullying hurts. The genius of Challenge Day is the simple way in which the activities show kids that lesson.

The students see others who have experienced many of the same obstacles they have faced. They see peers who experienced even greater challenges."

Dwayne K. Newman
Superintendent, Colusa Unified School District, Colusa, California

"After the first Challenge Day we had a 50% drop in suspensions and another 50% drop the next year after the second Challenge Day, along with reduced disciplinary actions. This fall when school began, several upper class students, based on what they have learned from Challenge Day, decided to greet the freshman and welcome them to the school. It truly was the best start to any school year I have experienced ever."

Sandra Just
Principal, Thomas Jefferson High School, Denver, Colorado

Science Supporting Challenge Day Programs

Empathy

"When we take the other’s perspective, we feel an empathic state of concern and are motivated to address that person’s needs and enhance that person’s welfare, sometimes even at our own expense" (Keltner, 2004).

Compassion

"Compassion in young people and adults produces a positive physiological response: the heart rate drops from baseline levels preparing people to approach and soothe others. This is in contrast to when people are threatened or traumatized, which creates a “fight or flight” emotional and physiological response" (Keltner, 2004).

Social Connection

"Belongingness is a “fundamental human motivation” and the lack of belongingness – social exclusion—is a main source of anxiety and often leads to significant emotional distress" (Seppala, Rossomando, & Doty, 2013).

"Individuals who are socially active with satisfying relationships report above-average levels of happiness, lower levels of depression and anxiety, and higher resiliency across a broad array of stressful life events and environments" (Seppala, Rossomando, & Doty, 2013).

"Social rejection, in particular, seems to have a highly disorganizing effect on people, leading to self-defeating, impulsive, and under-controlled behavior" (Seppala, Rossomando, & Doty, 2013).

"Increasing one’s sense of connection toward a member of a stigmatized group through perspective-taking (seeing a situation from the point of view of the other person) increases one’s connection to the group as a whole … [and] to empathy and helping behavior even at a cost to oneself" (Seppala, Rossomando, & Doty, 2013).

"There appears to be a causal relationship between low social connection and cognitive impairment that may explain why low social connection is associated with lower school outcomes. Also, feeling uncertain about belongingness can undermine motivation and achievement" (Seppala, Rossomando, & Doty, 2013).

Adolescent Emotional Health

30 percent of students in grades nine through 12 reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for an extended period equal to two or more weeks in a row (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

9.4% of young people age 14-17 witnessed family assault (Finkelhor, Turner, Shattuck & Hamby, 2015).

17% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they had thought seriously about attempting suicide, and 14% made a plan about how they would attempt suicide (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

8% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they had attempted suicide (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

2.7% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that their suicide attempts required medical attention (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

75% of the words used by high schoolers to describe how they currently feel in school were negative (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, 2015).

39% of high school students used “Tired” to describe their current emotions at school, 29% used “Stressed”, and 26% used “Bored” (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, 2015).

High school students who said other people have been mean or cruel to them tend to feel lonelier, fearful, and hopeless (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, 2015).

High school students report that they want to feel happy, excited, and energized (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, 2015).

Prevalence of Bullying and Violence

19.6% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they were bullied on school property (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

14.8% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they were electronically bullied (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

60% of parents reported that they worry that their child might be bullied at some point; the greatest concern that they had exceeding concerns about other forms of violence, pregnancy, or use alcohol and drug problems (Pew Research Center, 2015).

24.7% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they were in a physical fight, and 3.1% reported that they were injured in a physical fight (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

8.1% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they were in a physical fight on school property (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

7.1% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they did not go to school because of safety concerns (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

5.2% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they carried a weapon on school property, and 6.9% reported that they were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

10.3% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they experienced physical dating violence (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

7.3% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they were ever forced to have sexual intercourse (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

41% of young people age 14-17 experienced some form of physical assault (Finkelhor, Turner, Shattuck & Hamby, 2015).

39% of young people age 14-17 experienced some form of relational aggression (Finkelhor, Turner, Shattuck & Hamby, 2015).

15.7% of young people age 14-17 experienced emotional abuse (Finkelhor, Turner, Shattuck & Hamby, 2015).

8.6% of young people age 14-17 experienced internet or cell phone harassment (Finkelhor, Turner, Shattuck & Hamby, 2015).

Bullying Effects

"Youth who are bullied are more likely to be depressed or anxious, have lower academic achievement, report feeling like they do not belong at school, have poorer social and emotional adjustment, greater difficulty making friends, poorer relationships with classmates, and greater loneliness" (Hertz, Donato & Wright, 2013).

"The longer a child is bullied, the worse the impact on mental and physical health" (Bogart, Elliott, et al, 2014).

"Children who are bullied are at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after exposure to bullying" (Takizawa, Maughan & Arseneault, 2014).

"There was a higher risk of both depression and suicidal ideation among both students who were bullied and who were bullies" (Kaltiala-Heino, Rimpela, Marttunen, et al, 1999).

"Bullies were often as depressed as those who were bullied, and suicidal ideation was even more common among bullies" (Bogart, Elliott, et al, 2014).

"Bullying was a significant predictor of violence six years later in life, increasing the risk of later violence by about two-thirds" (Ttofi, Farrington & Losel, 2012).

Roots of Bullying and Other Aggressive Behaviors

"Youth who have experienced maltreatment such as abuse or neglect were more likely to engage in bullying and more likely to be victims of bullying than peers who did not experience maltreatment" (Shields & Cichetti, 2001).

"Youth who experienced physical child harm (both corporal punishment and physical child abuse) were more likely to be involved in bullying than those who did not experience physical harm" (Dussich & Maekoya, 2007).

"While young children were more likely than older children to be victims of child maltreatment, 7% of youth age 12-15 and 4.5% age 16-17 reported maltreatment" (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011).

Sources

Dacher Keltner.  The Compassionate Instinct. Greater Good Science Center. March 1, 2004.  Online article.

Emma Seppala, Timothy Rossomando, and James R. Doty. Social Connection and Compassion: Important Predictors of Health and Well-Being. Social Research Vol. 80; No 2: Summer 2013.  411-430.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2013. MMWR Surveillance Summaries/Vol.63/No.4. Published June 13, 2014.

David Finkelhor, Heather A. Turner, Anne Shattuck, Sherry L. Hamby. Prevalence of Childhood Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse. JAMA Pediatrics. Published online June 29, 2015. E1-E9.

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The Emotional Revolution. Online Survey of 22,000 High School-Age Youth. Published online October 26, 2015.

Pew Research Center. Parenting in America. Published online December 17, 2015.

Marci Feldman Hertz, M.S., Ingrid Donato, James Wright, M.S., L.C.P.C. Bullying and Suicide: A Public Health Approach. Journal of Adolescent Health 53 (2013). 51-53

Laura M. Bogart, Marc N. Elliott, et al. Peer Victimization in Fifth Grade and Health in Tenth Grade. Pediatrics 2014. 460-468.

Ryu Takizawa, M.D., Ph.D., Barbara Maughan, Ph.D. Louise Arseneault, Ph.D. Adult Health Outcomes of Childhood Bullying Victimization: Evidence From a Five-Decade Longitudinal British Birth Cohort. Am J Psychiatry 171:7, July 2014. 777-784.

Riittakerttu Kaltiala­Heino, Matti Rimpelä, Mauri Marttunen, et al. Bullying, depression, and suicidal ideation in Finnish adolescents: school survey. BMJ. Volume 319 7. August 1999. 348-351

Maria M. Ttofi, David P. Farrington, Friedrich Lösel. School bullying as a predictor of violence later in life: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective longitudinal studies. Aggression and Violent Behavior 17 (2012). 405–418

Shields, A. & Cichetti, D. Parental maltreatment and emotional dysregulation as risk factors for bullying and victimization in middle childhood. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology 30(3) (2001): 349-363

Dussich, J.P.J. & Maekoya, C. Physical child harm and bullying-related behaviors: A comparative study in Japan, South Africa, and the United States. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 51 (2007): 495-509 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. Child Maltreatment 2011 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2011).