Karyn Singley-Blair, ACHS Be The Change Club
“ACHS Be The Change” is about empowering youth at Aurora Central High School (ACHS) to be the change makers of their own lives in a school and community environment of Aurora, Colorado, that consists of a highly diverse, traumatized, and low social-economic population.
After several incidents of gang violence and two student deaths by suicide (amidst countless other suicide risk and threat assessments), Karyn Singley Blair launched this program with the support of Challenge Denver, an organization that promotes Social-Emotional Learning programs in schools within the Denver metro area. Blair has been a school psychologist at Aurora Central High School for going on 15 years. Her colleagues Jennifer Swanson, another school psychologist, and Vidya Duff, a school social worker, are joining Karyn in bringing refugee, immigrant and American students together to build a safer and more caring school community.
These students are collaborating to spread inclusiveness, student engagement, and change of culture throughout their school community by carrying out a series of activities and events including Challenge Day, Random Acts of Kindness Week, Day Without Hate, and a Peer Mediator program. These programs remind students that we are all more alike than we are different (no matter where we are from or what our background is) and encourage the demonstration of compassion to each other, limiting bullying and repairing relationships. They share and work toward Challenge Day’s vision that everyone should feel safe, loved, and celebrated when they are at school.