Yvonne and Rich Dutra-St. John
Yvonne and Rich Dutra-St. John are the co-founders of the Challenge Day program, a nonprofit that combats hate and bullying in schools. The program provides youth and their communities with experiential workshops that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth and full expression.
When Yvonne and Rich first met in Oakland, CA, both were working with teens in addiction programs and shared a passion for helping youth. But years of interventions had left them feeling frustrated. They were always getting involved after the teens were in crisis, but they wanted to reach them before they hit bottom. The answer was Challenge Day, a program that grew from Yvonne’s and Rich’s own high school experiences with bullying. If they could work with kids to promote tolerance and acceptance, they thought, perhaps fewer of them would turn to drugs and violence.
Yvonne and Rich began Challenge Day slowly, bringing their day-long program to one school at a time. Since those humble beginnings in 1987, Challenge Day has grown to serve more than one million students in more than 45 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. It has given birth to Be The Change, a movement that encourages people to enact positive change by committing to perform at least one intentional positive act per day.
Yvonne and Rich have also gone on to offer Challenge Day’s services to other organizations and companies, including the Coca-Cola Corporation and the Girl Scouts of America.
Through it all, Yvonne and Rich have continued to share their vision of a world where every child can feel safe, loved and celebrated.
To learn more about Yvonne and Rich, and Challenge Day, please visit www.challengeday.org