By Jenny Karl and Beyond Differences
Seeing a student struggle socially is a heartbreaking thing to witness. Students are the most productive when they come to school with their basic needs met and when they are socially and emotionally prepared to start the school day. Social isolation can challenge productivity in the classroom.
According to a 2013 research study on children and social isolation, negative health consequences are serious and include risk of heart disease, sleep disturbances and obesity. These students also run higher risks of engaging in truancy, self-harm and community violence.
At Beyond Differences, we believe that a new age is dawning where students will feel included during lunchtime, online and after school. Through our national awareness days and by utilizing our free lesson plans and free toolkits, spreading the word about social isolation is reaching students across the country.
National No One Eats Alone Day took place on February 12, 2016 and in over 1,100 schools in all 50 states students participated in a lunchtime event and celebrated inclusion.
The message is simple and positive: one day out of the school year, no one eats alone at lunch and everyone sits with someone they would not normally sit with. When students overcome the uncomfortable initial steps, they will find that being inclusive feels good making inclusivity the new “cool.”
Currently, we are building up to our next national awareness day: National Be The One Day on April 22, 2016. Anyone can sign their school up at joinbetheone.org. Once they do, they will receive our free Be The One Day planning toolkit and free lesson plans which guide students in examining their individual biases and negative behaviors and how to leave them behind and “be the one” to work for positive change at their school.
Be The One Day is a truly transformative experience for students who celebrate this positive change with an event that might include a colorful balloon arch, music, conversation and new friends.
Let’s make a kinder generation of self-aware individuals. Join us and make Be The One Day a success nationwide by signing up your school. With your help, we will be one step closer to spreading the message of kindness and inclusivity.
To read more about National Be the One Day, click here.