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Port Chester Daily Voice serves Port Chester, NY

Port Chester Middle School Club Makes a Difference

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Port Chester Middle School’s Friends of Rachel Club may be small, but its sixth and seventh grade members have big aspirations.

“The club started out really big, and then less and less kids started showing up,” sixth grader Marleyena George said. “Even though it’s small, this club is really important, and together we can make a difference.”

The Friends of Rachel Club is a nationally syndicated anti-bullying club formed in honor of Rachel Joyce Scott, the first student killed during the Columbine school shootings in 1999. Rachel’s family started the program after reading the many inspirational passages from their daughter’s diary.

Although the club uses a variety of Rachel’s quotes, the following excerpt known as ‘Rachel’s Challenge’ is at the heart of the program’s mission:

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”

While each of the six members has a different reason for joining the club, one theme remains the same; they all want to help people.

“I joined the club because when I see bad things happen in school it really bothers me,” Seventh grader Armond Yusi said. “I really want to help other kids deal with their problems, so they won’t remember them when they’re older and it won’t make them do bad things.”

Sixth grader Emily Ferraro expressed a similar sentiment.

“I became part of the club because I enjoy helping people, and I like to make a difference in other people’s lives,” Ferraro said. “It makes me sad when I see other people bullied. I want to help make difference in the school.”

Allison Silverman, family and consumer science teacher and faculty member in charge of the club, described the program as "amazing."

“I’d been here for five years and bullying was a major part of what I taught, but it’s tough to get through to the kids," she said.

The program, which began last October, has already begun work on fundraisers for the club, and, at the behest of Yusi, is looking to create a closet full of school supplies for the middle school’s students. The club's members are also working to show a film about bullying and said they are constantly searching for new ways to share Rachel’s message.

“I always tell them that a group, no matter how small, can inflict change,” Silverman said smiling.

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