Challenge Day returns to Keys schools

Challenge Day returns to Keys schools

First event set for MLK Day

The youth board members representing each area of the Keys recently met to plan their respective Challenge Day and follow up activities. Pictured, front row (l-r) are: Xavier McKnight, Almaneri Correa, Emily Hill; middle row (l-r): Anika Yasmin, Madison Dorman, Alexander Morato, Marina Kay Wiatt, Carly Cherry, Cheyenne Wright; and back row (l-r): Natalie Sassine, Sara Dodamead, Tommy Dodamead, Wendy Beumel, Haylie Heller, Leah Sutter, Cassidy Burgos, Katie Fernandez and Harley Roles-Douvier.

High school youth who’ve been a part of Be the Change of the Florida Keys (BTC) have been asking for the return of Challenge Day, the organization’s signature program for more than two years.

In less than two weeks, they will get their wish.

Alex Castillo, Senior at Coral Shores High School attended Challenge Day as a freshman and ever since has been an enthusiastic advocate to bring the event back.

“Challenge Day is important to me because it brings people together, promotes respect and teaches us about caring for one another and the importance of service,” Castillo said.

The first Challenge Day is scheduled to take place on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. in honor and celebration of a man who advocated for unity, equality and social justice, all components of the Challenge Day experience.

Members of the BTC PeaceJam Youth Board provide the momentum; they are behind planning and implementing the one-day workshop as well as all the follow up activities, projects, and events planned in the coming months.

Each member of the youth board will attend an event at their school and most will serve as peer facilitators or “Red Shirts” because of the red shirts they wear during the event.

Katie Fernandez, Junior Class President at Coral Shores High School and youth board member is leading the push at CSHS to have her classmates at the event.

“I have not been to a Challenge Day yet and I am looking forward to it,” Katie said. “I have heard so much positive feedback from other students who have been. I am glad my class finally gets to attend.”

The first Challenge Day event is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16 on MLK Day at the Marathon Garden Club, located at MM 50 Bayside from 10 am – 4 pm.

Challenge Days are also being planned at Coral Shores High School on the Tuesday, Jan. 17 from 8 am – 2:30 pm and at Key West High School on Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 8 am – 2:30 pm.

BTC is looking for caring, responsible adults to volunteer to support the Challenge Days.

If you would like more information about Challenge Day and Be the Change of the Florida Keys or how you can get involved, visit the website at or contact Michelle Sutter, Program Manager at (305) 852-1664.

Be the Change of the Florida Keys, Inc is a grassroots non-profit organization. The vision is a community where each child in Monroe County has the resources, skills and motivation to survive and thrive in school and in life.




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