Keynote Speakers

Challenge Day


Rich Dutra St John

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.

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.


Yvonne St John Dutra

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.

As parents of four daughters, Yvonne and Rich co-founded the award winning Challenge Day Program in 1987. In addition to leading Challenge Day Programs, Challenger Trainings, Mentorship Programs, Next Step and Living the Change Community Workshops, Yvonne is currently serving as a Challenge Day Leader, and a lifetime Board member.