Midland ISD Brings in Challenge Day Program from California

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- The new school year has just started in Midland, but the wounds left over from last year's rash of teen suicides are still healing. Midland Independent School District has vowed to implement a number of programs to make sure this school year isn't faced with same epidemic as the last year. One such program kicks off next Monday. It's coming out of California and going straight into Tall City classrooms. It all started from the relentless efforts of one Basin mom.

Sandra Candia works at a basin dental office. She's never been employed by MISD, but she does know a thing or two about kids. She is the proud mother of two. A couple of years ago, Candia saw the need for change in our area's youth.

"I could do nothing and complain and say 'I wish somebody would do something about that,' or I could at least try to make a change," she said.

Candia had heard that the Challenge Day Program out of Southern California was turning young lives around. She wanted to bring it to Midland.

"I just started contacting the schools during my lunch hour before work and after work until someone listened," she said.

Candia was heard loud and clear. The Challenge Day Program, with the help of fundraising, was picked up at Midland Christian School for a trial run and it proved to be a hit. Then, last fall, MISD was rocked by tragedy. Four students committed suicide within a four month period.

"If we can teach one another how to help each other than we can prevent a lot more suicides," Candia explains.

That is the objective of the Challenge Day program. For a full day, students from all walks of life are thrown together and face their differences head on.

"If you just step outside of your comfort zone, you might meet somebody and make a difference in somebody's life. There are possibilities and new choices. You may [discover] what can you do in this world to make a difference," she said.

Midland ISD is now putting the challenge in some of their schools. The first one of the year happens next Monday at the Midland Alternative Program.

To learn how to donate money or volunteer your time, please visit: http://www.oilpatchkids.org/be-the-change/