When the Edmonds School District wanted to bring the Rachel’s Challenge anti-bullying program to its schools, the Hazel Miller Foundation donated the hefty sum of $25,000, but the district was still $15,000 short of the needed total amount. The Edmonds Public Schools Foundation stepped up, hosting a fundraiser evening that raised more than $38,000, far above and beyond their $20,000 goal.
“I was a perfect evening,” commented Debbie Bodal, president of the Edmonds Public Schools Foundation. “I would not change anything and I am so grateful to every guest and volunteer who helped make this possible.”
Eighty-five guests gathered at a private residence for a night of food, music, dancing and a lively auction. Former mayor Gary Haakenson emceed the evening, and six members of the award-winning Mountlake Terrace Jazz band played for the arriving guests. Appetizers were donated by A Chef's kitchen and Icicle Seafood, and the salmon for the BBQ salmon dinner was donated by John and Brenda Bush and BBQ by Doug Dixon and his crew.
Of the $38,000 raised, $15,000 will go towards bringing the Rachel’s Challenge program to the Edmonds School District. The program focuses on anti-bullying in schools, and was formed by the family of Rachel Scott, the first person killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings. Using her story, the Scott family travels around the speaking at schools in an attempt to encourage students to treat each other kindly, think twice before they engage in bullying and understand how their actions impact others.
“Bullying can be divided into two groups, those who are bullied, the victim, and those who do the bullying, the aggressor,” Bodal explained. “Rachel’s challenge will not only help students identify what it is to be a bully either as an aggressor or as a victim, but will give them the tools to intervene when they see the behavior. [It] is a proactive intervention to educate students to use their personal power in a more leadership roles that will be inclusive not exclusive.”
The remaining money raised at the event will go to various programs within the Edmonds School District, allotted through a grants program.
“We want the community to know that [bullying] a difficult topic,” Bodal noted, “but one the Edmonds School District community is committed to addressing in a sensitive, straightforward, and lasting way.”