A positive prevention initiative designed to promote inclusion in middle schools was celebrated at Miami Middle School in Fort Wayne on Thursday, February 28, 2019.
Representatives from Managed Health Services (MHS) hosted an assembly in honor of National No One Eats Alone® Day, created by the non-profit Beyond Differences™. The event featured a bullying prevention program performed by Young Actors Theatre. Nearly 500 students participated in activities designed to teach them about social isolation and the negative impact it can have on a student’s health and academic performance. They then demonstrated inclusion and sat with students at lunch who they didn’t know, or who may feel left out. They were given ice breaker topics to discuss to highlight their commonalities.
Social isolation affects millions of students and has been identified as a precursor to bullying, self-harm and community violence. Students have shown that if they are given the tools, they will stand up for others as empathetic and caring activists, not passive bystanders.
“MHS worked with Miami Middle School faculty, staff and students on this program to help promote ways students can be inclusive and kind to their peers,” said MHS President and CEO Kevin O’Toole. “Students were encouraged to create new friendships and were given ‘ice breakers,’ topics all students could discuss to promote and demonstrate inclusion. We are committed to improving the health of the Fort Wayne community, and implementing this program helps educate today’s youth on the importance of physical, mental and emotional health.”
“Social isolation is a preventable public health problem,” said Laura Talmus, co-founder and executive director of Beyond Differences. “We’ve learned through teachers and families that No One Eats Alone Day is a powerful step and positive initiative that can change the culture in schools to be a more welcoming place for all.”
Miami Middle School was one of more than 2,250 schools across the country that celebrated National No One Eats Alone Day. The initiative reached more than 1 million students in all 50 states.