Rich Dutra-St. John


Yvonne Dutra-St. John is a co-founder of Challenge Day. Working with teens and adults, for over 26 years in a variety of settings, Yvonne has been instrumental in designing and implementing over 17 different nationally recognized prevention and intervention programs for teenagers.

Yvonne’s earliest experiences varied from doing classroom presentations and school assemblies, to media programs on gender roles and eating disorders. She later focused her attention on working with at risk youth, addiction and social oppression issues.

A gifted speaker, program designer, trainer, and educator, Yvonne has received many honors and won numerous awards for her work with teens and families. In 2003, Yvonne was selected to receive the Contra Costa County Woman of The Year Award. In August 2005, Yvonne and her husband, Rich, were recognized as “Champions of Forgiveness” by the World Wide Forgiveness Alliance.

A gifted facilitator and counselor, Rich is viewed as an expert in working with youth and families. With a shared vision that every child could someday live in a world where they feel safe loved and celebrated, Rich and his wife Yvonne combined their collective passion and experience to co-found the Challenge Day Program in 1987. Their work has positively affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of youth and adults in 39 states and 6 Canadian Provinces. Rich now serves as a Challenge Day Leader and a lifetime Board Member.

Rich Dutra-St. John is a co-founder of Challenge Day. A former high school teacher and championship wrestling coach, Rich has worked with teens and families since 1978. As a licensed family therapist and drug intervention specialist, he was recruited to open and direct two different adolescent treatment facilities in Northern California, most notably the Thunder Road Adolescent Recovery Center in Oakland where he served as the founding clinical director. Currently, he is an adjunct faculty member at Cal State East Bay University.

Motivated by memories of their own teen experiences and fueled by a desire to work for positive
change, Yvonne and Rich Dutra-St. John created the award-winning Challenge Day program in 1987.
Experts on relationship building and communication, Yvonne and Rich have worked for years to break
down the walls of negativity, judgment, separation, isolation and loneliness replacing them with
compassion, understanding and love. They envision a world where every child feels safe, loved and
celebrated. Not just every young person, but also the child that still lives in each of our hearts.
Yvonne and Rich’s life-changing work has received numerous awards and has been featured
extensively in places such as the Oprah Winfrey Show, Emmy Award winning “Teen Files: Surviving
High School,” “The Bully Solution,” a winner of the Canadian Blue Ribbon Award and is currently the
feature for MTV’s “If You Really Knew Me” series. In 2005, they were honored as Champions of
Forgiveness by the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance. Their book, BE THE HERO you’ve been waiting
for, has inspired thousands of readers and has been the basis for countless classroom and family
Speaking with groups of all sizes, Yvonne and Rich have delivered numerous key note presentations,
leadership seminars and the Challenge Day program to diverse groups including the Coca-Cola
Company, The Million Dollar Round Table, The Kalamazoo Community Foundation, The Boost and
Push Conferences, The Peace Alliance, Reach for the Future, TeenWork, Whole Life Expos, D.A.R.E
Officers Association, The American Association of Group Psychotherapists, Transfinder Inc. and the Girl
Scouts of America.
Committed to the practice of modeling what they teach, their inspirational message of hope, compassion
and service permeates everything they do. As individuals, as a couple, and as visionary leaders, Yvonne
and Rich have an intuitive ability to demonstrate what it means to live passionate, productive and
effective lives, and to empower you to be the hero you’ve been waiting for.

YOU are the HERO you’ve been waiting for
By Yvonne and Rich Dutra-St John MA MFT
YOU are a one-of-a-kind miracle of creation. On the day you were born, a
precious and unique set of possibilities came into existence. Regardless of your
family or the circumstances you were born into, you came into the world filled
with divine light and loaded with special gifts. You were born with a purpose, a
destiny that only you can fill. And what if you have been endowed with a unique
set of “super powers” in order to do it?
Maybe you remember a time as a child when you “knew” you could save the
world. A time when you had fantasies of being Superman, Wonder Woman,
Batman, Amazing Man, Jet, Samurai, or some other Super Hero. A time when
you knew you had infinite power, knew that you were important and that your life
would make a difference. What if you were right? What if you are predisposed to
greatness? What if the hero in your story is YOU?
Our world is more ready than ever for heroes to emerge. Even though most of us
grew up with images of heroes with magical powers – complete with capes,
wands, and armor – real life heroes can appear in many forms. Heroes can be
political, spiritual, or community leaders standing in integrity on behalf of the
earth and its people. They can be youth speaking out boldly, reminding us of
what is most important, or they can be any one of us who has the courage to
face our biggest fears – even you.
It is time to be like alchemists who transform metal into gold. We must have the
audacity to allow ourselves to change from the inside out in order to prepare
ourselves to complete what we were born to do. What if there is no accident
that each one of us is alive on the planet right now? Like a butterfly morphing
from its past life as a caterpillar and now ready to spread its wings, it is time to
become the heroes we’ve been waiting for.
(Excerpt from Be The Hero You’ve Been Waiting For by Yvonne and Rich Dutra-
St. John)