By The PATH Staff
Last month, the PATH and Carteret Middle School participated in National No One Eats Alone Day. The program, created by the non-profit organization Beyond Differences, is a lunchtime event designed for middle and high school students. It was created to tackle a growing problem in schools across the country: social isolation.
Social isolation is the feeling of being left out, lonely or invisible. Students all over the world quietly suffer from isolation. This problem is often highlighted during lunch, a time when students are left to fend for themselves socially. As a result, was developed to help students feel included, valued and accepted by their peers.
The program asks students to engage in a simple act of kindness: make sure no one eats alone. The PATH and Carteret Middle School staff helped facilitate this event by utilizing different resources and games. For instance, teachers were asked to forego their lunch periods to eat with students in the cafeteria. In addition, students were provided with conversation cards to help aid discussion.
The PATH ran a social bingo station through each lunch period. The game required students to mingle, introduce themselves and find five new people who matched the different character traits written on their bingo cards. When they found five in a row, they were entered into a raffle to earn a gift card. Over 200 students participated in the game, and 12 students won a gift card.
It was incredible to see the level of student interaction with both staff and each other. Students happily interacted with peers outside their typical group and enjoyed the activities and opportunity to connect with each other.