GALION — Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely or treated like you are invisible.
Young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence and depression. As a result, many further pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development or choose to hurt themselves or others.
Galion Primary and Galion Intermediate schools are taking part this weekend in a program called “Start withHello.” It runs through Friday.
The “Start With Hello” program brings attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation and is designed to empowers young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their schools, youth organizatiosn and communities.
“Each day has a different theme based around a ‘promise’ that students make,” said school social worker Kirstie Naumoff. “The culminating activity for the week is challenging students to say ‘Hello’ to 10 new people.”
Start With Hello Week was developed by Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut.
Sandy Hook Promise is led by several family members whose loved ones were lost in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School o Dec. 14, 2012. The school shooting claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators. The organization is focused on preventing violence before it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals.
“I want to encourage our families and the Galion community to show our students that they are not alone,” said Galion City Schools superintendent Jennifer Allerding. “Sometimes it just takes a simple smile and a “hello” to brighten someone’s day.”
For more information on the ‘“Start With Hello” program and the Sandy Hook Promise, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org.