(Air1 Closer Look) – If you’re committed to helping kids grab their God-given potential, Randy Rich says first you have to find them. "And where do kids meet in the largest numbers in a mandatory setting? School!” Randy is a former NFL defensive back and vice president of Air1’s Dare To Dream. “And guess what? Schools are required to have a certain amount of assemblies during the course of a year to encourage their students!” The D2D motivational program does visit high schools but sees greatest success among kids slightly younger. “By the time a student reaches 8th grade a little over 80% of their value system in place – meaning the way they look at morality, sexuality, integrity – so where are we focusing our intention with Dare to Dream? Middle School.”
D2D school assemblies rely heavily on the power of personal experience, starting with the unlikely success Randy enjoyed as a professional football player for the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns. “I’m this short little 5ft 9’ guy who made it, right? So if a kid can see themselves through a speaker who’s presenting to them then it serves as an encouragement to them.”
Various artists, musicians and pro-athletes take the mic to share their own struggles to believe and achieve. Kids hear Christian music artists like Lauren Daigle and Toby Mac on videos to kick off each session. The assemblies are not evangelistic, but principals and teachers are fully aware that Dare To Dream is sponsored by Christian radio network Air1. Air1 - Worship Now is owned by Educational Media Foundation (EMF) and is a sister to the K-LOVE Radio Network.
Recurring themes for the presentation include tips for making positive life choices like "who’s in your Circle of Trust," explains Randy, and asking kids “‘what labels are you putting on yourself -- or allowing other people to put on you -- that prevent you from being all that you were truly created to be?" The D2D team also supplies a 3-week Development Guide as a follow-up to the assembly which has become so popular that many teachers stretch it into a whole semester of instruction.
More proof of the impact of a Dare To Dream school assembly? Responses written by students on comment cards at the end. The program has helped hundreds of middle and high schoolers confess to teachers or other trusted adults their suicidal tendencies, or report abuse at home and often infused them with courage to ask deep questions about morality. “For some reason they feel safe enough to write on this little 3x5 card some of the most challenging things happening in their life.”
Randy is quick to give credit to God for any self-discovery that comes through Air1’s Dare To Dream. “That’s not us or any speaker’s ability to pull that out. We believe that’s the Holy Spirit working in and through the hearts of those kids when you speak truth. The truth will set you free.”
So far, Dare to Dream has been enthusiastically welcomed into more than 300 schools in 26 states, bringing the faith-based leaders face-to-face with an estimated 250,000 young people. As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, assembly speakers will resume their tours of public and private schools nationwide.