Let’s Start with Hello

 

Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely or treated like you are invisible. Young people, who are, or feel, isolated, can become victims of bullying, violence and depression. As a result, many pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development or choose to hurt themselves or others. 

Sadly, across this nation, we have seen this time and time again with primarily isolated men turning to violence, injuring or taking the lives of innocent people at schools, movie theaters, military bases, work places, music concerts, churches and now video game tournaments.

We can change this!

As our local Sandy Hook Promise Leader, I write to share with parents and educators, that “Start with Hello Week” happens later this month, from Monday, Sept. 24 through Friday, Sept. 28, and is an opportunity to reverse isolation on school campuses. This is an avenue to create a culture of inclusion at schools and youth organizations across the Island. All students, grades 2 through 12, can be involved in creating this program on their campuses. 

Start with Hello Week brings attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation and empowers young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school, youth organization or community. Start with Hello Week raises awareness and educates students and their community through specialized trainings, promotional materials, suggested activities and events, public proclamations, student contests and school awards. Participation in Start with Hello Week is free and can save lives.

Start with Hello Week is organized by the national non-profit, Sandy Hook Promise. This nonprofit is based in Newtown, Conn., and is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed, by an isolated young man, in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators. 

Sandy Hook Promise is focused on preventing gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization before it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. 

To bring Start with Hello to your school or youth organization, please visit www.sandyhookpromise.org/swhw and click on the green “register” button. 

Thank you for doing your part to help protect our children from violence and helping people not feel isolated. I am available to help Alameda schools kick this off. 

 

Kimberlee MacVicar is a Sandy Hook Promise Leader. She lives in Alameda.