Start With Hello
Start With Hello is an initiative that promotes connection and inclusivity throughout our community. Based in Newtown, Connecticut, Sandy Hook Promise works to unite people of all beliefs and backgrounds who value the protection of our students and to take meaningful actions in our communities to prevent gun violence as well as suicide and to stop the tragic loss of life.
Start with Hello teaches students how to reach out to and include those who may be socially isolated as well as to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school or youth organization. Excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violent and suicidal behavior. In fact, one study reports that chronic loneliness increases the 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.
Start With Hello Week brings attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation in our schools and communities and empowers young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school or youth organization. This is an exciting week of empowering youth, with more than 11,500 schools and youth organizations taking this week to Start With Hello and foster safer communities. We are so excited for this week of events aimed at reducing social isolation and bullying before people choose to hurt themselves or others. We will have activities to empower students to end social isolation by connecting with someone when they see them alone, reaching out and helping others to feel included, and striking up a conversation by starting with “Hello!" (ACSD began this campaign in September 2019 and will kick off each school year with this program.)
More information can be found on the Sandy Hook Promise website.