"Start With Hello" Week Seeks to End Social Isolation

By Sandy Hook Promise

Social isolation is a growing epidemic in the United States and within our schools. It’s the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely, or treated like you are invisible. Young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence and/or depression. In some cases, excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violent and suicidal behavior.

As a result, some pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development and may choose to hurt themselves or others. It’s easy to miss the warning signs if you don’t know what to look for and how to intervene. At Sandy Hook Promise, we developed the Start With Hello program to teach children, teens and young adults how to be more socially inclusive and connected to one another.

Start With Hello is a no-cost, easy to implement proven program for all schools and community organizations. With the program, students empowered to look after and stand up for one another.  Every student is trained to reach out to those exhibiting the signs of social isolation, marginalization or rejections and how to create an overall inclusive and connected community. Students become ‘up standers’, not bystanders. Since our launch, many of the schools and youth organizations that have implemented this program have seen tremendous positive effects and a significant decrease in bullying.

Our second annual Start With Hello Week is February 6-10, 2017.  By bringing our program to your students, they will join other students from over 2,400 schools across the country to help raise awareness and help reduce social isolation.  We know awareness and inclusion are powerful tools for helping build safer, healthier schools and to prevent bullying.

Start With Hello is delivered at no cost to schools and organizations by Sandy Hook Promise. The program can be taught in the classroom, through assemblies, or by student ambassadors. All the materials you’ll need to participate will be provided. Join us and empower your students to help prevent violence before it starts by visiting www.sandyhookpromise.org/startwithhelloweek today.

By Nicole Hockley, a founder and the managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. Her 6-year-old son, Dylan, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012.

Views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the endorsement of the Learning First Alliance or any of its members.

Sidebar Image
student sitting in school hallway