Have you ever felt lonely, invisible or alone? Now imagine feeling that way every day. Social isolation is a growing epidemic in the United States and within our schools. Too many of our young people suffer silently every day because they feel excluded, left out or that they don’t belong

Excessive feelings of social isolation can be associated with violent and suicidal behavior. In fact, one study reports that chronic loneliness increases our risk of an early death by 14%. Young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence and depression and as a result, many further pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development and choose to hurt themselves or others.

The good news is that we can do something about this. Together we can create more inclusive and connected classrooms, schools and communities! 

Sandy Hook PromisePlease join Sandy Hook Promise and hundreds of schools across the United States for National Start With Hello Week this February 8 – 12, 2016, by signing up today at www.sandyhookpromise.org/startwithhelloweek

Start With Hello Week is endorsed by 18 Ohio groups, including the Ohio Parent Teacher Association (OPTA), the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA), the Ohio Association for Secondary School Administrators (OASSA), the Ohio School Resource Officers Association (OSROA). Will you join Sandy Hook Promise and these organizations by bringing Start With Hello Week to your school?

There is no cost for your school to participate in Start With Hello Week. By signing up today at www.sandyhookpromise.org/startwithhelloweekyour school will receive no-cost, easy to implement resources that teach students, grades 2 -12, the skills they need to reach out to and include those who may be dealing with chronic social isolation and create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school.

The initial Start With Hello training can be accomplished in 45 minutes or less and can take place in the classroom, at an assembly, or led by youth ambassadors. When you sign up for Start With Hello Week, your school will receive access to the no-cost Start With Hello Week Planning Guide that includes ideas and sample templates to help plan your Start With Hello Week activities. You can also order materials to help promote your Start With Hello Week, including posters, wristbands and stickers. Schools and youth organizations participating in Start With Hello Week are also eligible to apply for a $10,000 Start With Hello Award.

Please join Sandy Hook Promise for National Start With Hello Week, February 8 – 12, 2016. By building a culture of inclusion and connectedness, we can better support our young people; reduce their risk of bullying, violence and depression; and save lives. Sign up for Start With Hello Week today at www.sandyhookpromise.org/startwithhelloweek.  

If you have any questions, please contact Sandra López at (614) 378-1978 or sandra.lopez@sandyhookpromise.org

Images credit: www.sandyhookpromise.org