‘Start with Hello’ campaign looks to make everyone feel included

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A campaign that kicked off Monday at a New Haven magnet school may be even more fitting after the shootings in Florida.

“Start with Hello,” a representative from Sandy Hook Promise told the students at the John C. Daniels School.

It’s one word, but they say it could make all the difference in the world for someone feeling lonely.

The assembly started off a week long celebration of the “Start with Hello” campaign which is aimed at stopping social isolation and promoting inclusiveness.

“I learned some people even though they’re around other people, around others they can still feel alone,” said 8th Grader Kaylene Cordero.Related Content: ‘Start with Hello’ theme of program presented by Sandy Hook Promise

The campaign comes as tragedy unfolded in Florida where someone said to be a loner and who was expelled from the high school he targeted for disciplinary reasons killed 17 people there.

“It’s really prevention for preventing social isolation which can lead to many other things that can be destructive,” said Carroll Ryan, the Magnet Resource Coordinator at John C Daniels School.

Students learned how to reach out to others. A simple hello, but then also ice breakers which can lead to more meaningful conversations.

“I can be having a really bad day. It can show me that people really do care and that they’re interested in me and I don’t feel as alone anymore,” said Cordero.Related Content: Victims identified in Florida shooting: Hero football coach, future college swimmer among dead

The school is hoping this program will build character and empathy even outside the classroom

“All you have to do is say ‘hello’ to somebody and you can make their day,” said Cordero.”It just takes one word.”

“We want people to all feel valued and that they can make a difference and always have someone to turn to when needed,” said Ryan.

Sandy Hook Promise says chronic loneliness increases the risk of an early death by 14% and often those suffering from it can become victims of bullying, violence, and/or depression and may choose to hurt themselves or others.

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