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During “National Inclusion Week” (February 8th – 12th), SAGA (the “Sexuality and Gender Awareness” group at MOT Charter High School) sponsored “Start with Hello” Week.

During this week, SAGA student members brought attention to the growing national matter of social isolation in our schools by sponsoring several activities to promote inclusion. SAGA started off the week by showing the students a presentation of the importance of “starting with hello…”, continued the week by handing out green “start with hello” bracelets and stickers for those that signed an inclusion pledge and finished the week by hosting a “Hey Day” where students wore a shirt with an image or a phrase that represented them and served as a conversation starter.

The Start with Hello Campaign is one part of the Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) Organization’s Prevention program.

Our students learned these important facts, provided by SHP,  about social isolation:

In every school and in every community there are young people who suffer silently because they feel left out, alone or invisible. Social isolation is a growing epidemic in the United States and within our schools. Excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violent and suicidal behavior. In fact, one study reports that chronic loneliness increases our risk of an early death by 14%. Furthermore, young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence and/or depression. As a result, many further pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development and/or choose to hurt themselves or others. By participating in Start With Hello Week, MOT Charter students joined hundreds of schools and youth organizations from across the United States to empower young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]