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Sandy Hook Promise launches Start with Hello Week

Sandy Hook Promise partners with students and educators to create more inclusive school environments

Today, Sandy Hook Promise launches Start with Hello Week (September 19-23, 2022), a national call to action to help address social isolation and create more inclusive and connected school environments. Events are happening in elementary, middle, and high schools across the country, largely driven by youth in more than 4,000 SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) Promise Clubs.

Open to any school, Start with Hello Week focuses on creating a culture of kindness and belonging through Start with Hello, a no-cost program that teaches students how to look for the signs of social isolation and reach out to help.

More than two million students will be joining in Start with Hello Week. Sandy Hook Promise provides resources to make participation as easy as possible, including:

  • A planning guide for schools and students;
  • The age-appropriate Start with Hello training videos and/or slides for grades K–12; and
  • Access to lesson plans and activities.

“Students are the eyes and ears of their schools,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “Start with Hello Week focuses on empowering students to create a more connected school community for everyone, an important component of violence prevention.”

Knowing the warning signs and how to get help to prevent violence has been proven to work. According to an analysis of every major school shooting by the U.S. Secret Service, in almost every case, students observed warning signs before an act of violence took place. They concluded that recognizing concerning behaviors is essential to prevention. Bullying and social isolation are among those signsStart with Hello Week encourages students to have empathy for others, helping to reduce social isolation and directly address bullying.

“If we take proactive steps, we can save countless lives,” said Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “School shootings are preventable when we teach our kids to look out for one another and take action to help.”

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