Social isolation is a preventable public-health crisis affecting millions of students. It could lead to bullying, self-harm, and community service, according to BeyondDifferences.org. To make sure every student feels included, Garrett Middle School joined schools across the country to celebrate “National No One Eats Alone Day.”
The program targets middle school children and aims to bring students, staff, and community members together to combat social isolation. The student-driven day encourages students to eat lunch with students they do not know and look for those who might feel left out and include them.
For No One Eats Alone Day at Garrett, firefighters and even the mayor of Austell pulled up a seat in the cafeteria to visit with students and let them know how much people care about them and want them to succeed.
“We appreciate Austell Mayor Ollie Clemons, community members, and parents for joining us during lunch. Our students and staff enjoyed spending time together and getting to know our community,” praised Principal Kristie Brown. “Our Communities in Schools Site Coordinator, Rhonda Yearwood, reached out to the mayor’s office and other community organizations to invite them to attend the event.”
Garrett’s cafeteria manager and the school’s Student Government Association organized the event. There was even a place where students, staff and community members could leave notes of encouragement and pledges of support, which formed the leaves of a tree.
Here’s what some of the notes said:
- “Always show love, and be a friend”
- “Love yourself and don’t hate.”
- “I will be nice to someone new.”
- “I pledge to smile at everyone.”
- “I promise to be kind to the student who needs it the most.”
- “You are loved. Keep this in mind!”
- “Be kind. Be true. Be You.”
The Cobb Schools Food and Nutrition Department praised Garrett for helping students come together.
“What an amazing day! I love how the whole school joined in and supported this program. The culture at Garrett is just amazing, and I thank you for all the support and encouragement that you [gave to the cafeteria staff,]” applauded Thomas Magee, a Cobb Schools Food and Nutrition area coordinator.
To learn ways to join the fight against social isolation in teens visit BeyondDifferences.org.