A Culture of Inclusivity

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Along with over 2,000 schools across the country, Elwood Middle School students celebrated No One Eats Alone Day on Feb. 9. During lunch periods throughout the day, members of the National Junior Honor Society and the Knights of Good brought awareness to social isolation.

“Let’s create a culture of belonging for everyone,” student volunteers read aloud to their peers, “to not be the cool kids, but to be the kids who include everyone…let’s be different Elwood, and end social isolation now!”
Students encouraged their peers to take part in the day by making sure no one was sitting alone, or by sitting with someone they’ve never sat with before. There were activities available for students to connect with new friends, including board games, a raffle, and opportunities to affirm others that they’re not alone.

“This day is so important because no school is without isolated kids,” said Dahlia, a sixth grader at EMS. “And just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

This day was created by Beyond Differences—a non-profit organization founded by the parents of Lili Smith, who was born with a cranial facial syndrome and was socially isolated during her middle school years. Their mission is to bring awareness to the harshness of social isolation, and are determined to teach students to be inclusive.