Rachel's Challenge

Friends of Rachel Club

Member of the Month

Tayler Van Arsdale

By: Lauren Martin

Tayler Van Arsdale, a senior at Midlothian, is a dedicated member of the Friends of Rachel club and actively participates within the student body.  She has helped to make our school a safer place for everyone, as she works to eliminate bullying and prejudice.  With Tayler’s assistance, a chain reaction of kindness is spreading throughout our halls.

What is your inspiration for joining F.O.R.?
"Growing up, I was bullied in school and knew how it felt to be the odd one out.  When Rachel's Challenge came to Midlothian, it really hit me that I can make a difference in people's lives in making sure that no one here is bullied or feels left out."

How did Rachel's Challenge impact you?
"Rachel's Challenge reminded me that no matter what, where we come from, or who we are, we should all strive to make this world a better place.  We can make this a better place simply by saying "hi" to someone we don't know or by complimenting someone on something they do well."

What is your favorite part of F.O.R. Club?
"I love seeing new and different faces week after week, and I love seeing how passionate all of my classmates, teachers, and counselors are for the project."

How do you spread kindness throughout your community?
"I love giving people compliments because I know how great I feel when someone pays me one.  I think that going out of your way to notice something special about someone can really make his or her day."

What is your favorite of the five challenges?
"Look for the best in others.  I always look for what's great in everyone because, like Rachel said, there's good in everyone.  Everyone makes mistakes, but I believe that everyone has an undeniable good inside of him or her if we just give him or her the opportunity to show it."

 Life Lessons from A.A. Milne

and Winnie the Pooh

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
A.A. Milne

 By: Lauren Martin

Alexander Alan Milne, best known for his children’s book series which follows the life of Winnie the Pooh, was born in London, England on January 18, 1882.  Milne attended a small schoolhouse under the direction of his father, and there he learned of his passion for writing.  He began to write and edit for the school newspaper, gaining the attention of a local British magazine, where he became a writer and an assistant editor.  After serving as an officer of the British army in World War I, Milne returned to the world of writing with the book, Peace and Honour, discussing aspects of the war.  He became a critic of other war writers and gained fame.  However, his idea for his most popular series sparked after watching his son, Christopher Robin, play with his toys, and Winnie the Pooh was born.  Milne used his fictional characters to teach children and adults alike powerful life lessons and themes, including: spreading kindness, smiling, and sharing.  With the help of his fictional friends, Milne built his own army force of good for children worldwide.




More Acts of Kindness
Friends of Rachel Club made blankets for hospital patients out of colorful squares containing positive messages.

The English Department collected 567 books for students in the Autism program. 

Mrs. Taylor's and Mrs. Green's Classes collected Pennies for Patients donations during lunches. 

The Girls Tennis team volunteered at the 2013 Wheelchair Tennis Open.

The Boys Soccer team wrote notes of Kindness during the last F.O.R. Club meeting, helping Rachel's Challenge send a note to every Midlo student and faculty member.


             Painting Smiles for Patients

By: Katrina Leser

 At their last meeting, F.O.R. Club members used their creative skills to make blankets for cancer patients. Students tied together colorful squares and decorated each with a positive message and designs. Helped by Mr. Birmingham, Dr. Jones, and Mrs. Jones, the club made 5 blankets total. The blankets will be donated to a local hospital, where they can cheer up a patient in need.  F.O.R. Club is planning to continue this project in order to spread the inspirational and motivational blankets to more people.

                                                          Marjorie concentrates on designing a square.                                                


       Terrific Teachers Who Volunteer

Mrs. Amy Tucker

Mrs. Aurora Lasine

Mrs. Laurianne Jones

By: Katrina Leser

    Throughout the past school year, teachers dedicated to helping spread kindness have helped with the Rachel’s Challenge Club. Staying after school to help at meetings and to organize subcommittees, Mrs. Amy Tucker, Mrs. Aurora Lasine, and Mrs. Laurianne Jones have been valuable members of the team. 

    Mrs. Tucker, an English teacher at Midlo, joined the club after seeing the impact the program had on her students.  She commented, “I saw how touched some of my students were after the assembly, and I also saw within my own classroom some of the students who could benefit from some acts of kindness.” She has continuously showed her support, attending meetings and helping with the New Student Committee. Her favorite project, the Chain Mail, has definitely touched those students she saw at the beginning of the year. 

    Mrs. Lasine, a Spanish teacher at Midlo, indicates that her favorite part is “just the fact that many kids are involved in it.” She enjoys participating in the meetings, where she has seen a large impact. Mrs. Lasine has helped with the Chain Mail project and various community services during meetings. 

    Mrs. Jones, a Special Education teacher at Midlo, has also been a huge help with the club. She attends almost every meeting and helped with the Chain Mail, the blankets for patients, the toy drive, and organizing the New Student Breakfast. After "being so devastated by the Columbine Shootings in 1999," especially when she found out the incident was related to bullying, she "wanted to be part of an organization that promotes treating everyone with kindness and respect." Mrs. Jones has seen the impact on her students and the school, stating "Students appear to be much more tolerant of one another and how their behavior can impact others." Although she has no one favorite activity the club has done, she found the"'My Story' [session during meetings] was particularly powerful," as well as "the fact that the FOR Club welcomes all individuals" and  "each [project] impacted people in different ways." The hard work and support of these teachers helps make the F.O.R. Club a success and inspires the students to continue the impact of Rachel’s Challenge.


Girls Tennis Team Volunteers 
at the 2013 Wheelchair Open

By: Lauren Martin

Members of the Girls Tennis team enjoyed volunteering for a great cause on May 4th and 5th at the Midlothian Athletic Club.  The team served as ball girls for the players in the 2013 USTA Virginia Wheelchair Circuit.  Aside from retrieving tennis balls, the girls got to know the players and learned of their personal triumphs.  Competitors in the tournament included past Paralympians who have competed in tennis tournaments worldwide.  The rules for wheelchair tennis are almost identical to that of everyday tennis with the exception that players on wheels may allow for the ball to bounce twice.  After chatting with the competitors and retrieving tennis balls, the girls realized that there is more to tennis than a fuzzy yellow ball.

Midlo Girls Tennis team supports the USTA Virginia Wheelchair Circuit.




F.O.R. members decorated fabric squares to make blankets for cancer patients.