Over the next few weeks, Boyle County elementary schools will be making a difference by participating in Start with Hello Week. Organized by the Sandy Hook Promise Organization, the initiative is a youth violence prevention program aimed at teaching students the skills they need to reach out to those who may be dealing with chronic social isolation.
The program enables students to identify and help children who are showing signs of loneliness or isolation by taking small, but powerful, actions to promote connectedness. Throughout the week, students and teachers will participate in fun activities designed to make children feel more included, empathetic and compassionate.
“Start with Hello Week is an opportunity for us to educate teachers and students about the warning signs of isolation and equip them with easy ways to reach out to others,” said District Health Coordinator Pam Tamme. “The first step is simply saying ‘hello.’”
Junction City Elementary and Woodlawn Elementary schools will celebrate Start With Hello Week August 27 through August 31. Perryville Elementary will participate the week of September 3. School-wide activities will include student essay and poster contests, human bingo, creating a positivity wall and several other opportunities for students to introduce themselves to children they may not know.
By promoting Start With Hello Week, the district hopes to bring attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation and empower young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness. Building student connectedness is a major focus outlined in the mental health section of the district’s School Safety Strategic Plan. Research indicates that students are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and succeed academically when they feel connected at school.