• February 19, 2020

Bowie hosts No One Eats Alone Day - Odessa American: ECISD

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Bowie hosts No One Eats Alone Day

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 5:20 pm

As a way to teach students about social isolation, Bowie Middle School was part of the national campaign No One Eats Alone Day Thursday.

It would normally be held Feb. 14, but there is no school today, so it was held Feb. 13.

The nationwide initiative was created by the nonprofit Beyond Differences to promote inclusion at schools.

According to information from Superior HealthPlan, social isolation is a public health crisis affecting children nationwide and a precursor to bullying. “It is characterized by children feeling alone or outcast from their peers, and it’s especially prevalent in schools. However, students have shown that given the right tools, they will stand up for others as caring and empathetic activists, not passive bystanders,” a news release said.

Nationwide, there were more than 2,500 schools participating reaching more than 1 million students, Community Relations Director Armida Tarin said. She added that this is the second year Bowie has hosted the initiative.

Principal Brian Ellington said No One Eats Alone would impact the sixth grade at Bowie, which is about 440 students.

“Usually, we have the students assigned to a table by teacher,” but not Thursday, Ellington said.

Encouraging messages were put on a paper tree under a No One Eats Alone banner in the school foyer.

“We’re just really trying to create an awareness of social anxiety that there are some students they might be new to the school. They might be ones that are traditionally by themselves. We just want students to have empathy for them, try to get to know them and try to make them feel like someone is interested in them and their situation; they actually care about them,” Ellington said.

“I kind of have an understanding of this because I’m a preacher’s kid. My parents moved when I was in seventh grade, so I went to a new school. That’s a pretty I guess fragile age socially, so you go to a new setting and you don’t know a whole lot of students. … It’s a positive for me if we reach at least one student …,” Ellington added.

He said the students are still going to sit at tables by teacher, but they are considering some things for next year.

They have character words for the month and one to add is empathy, Ellington said.

“You don’t know what a student’s going through …,” he added.

Sylvia Gonzalez, campus coordinator with Communities in Schools, a dropout prevention program, said No One Eats Alone is a great thing.

“Sometimes we are always with our friends and we don’t always look at our surroundings and it’s really important to see who is eating by themselves (and) why are they eating by themselves,” Gonzalez said.

It’s also important for teachers to talk to children who are eating alone.

Martin Alva, an 11-year-old sixth grader said he feels No One Eats Alone is about friendship.

“And everybody’s the same and treat everyone how you want to be treated,” Alva said.

He added that he feels it will help other sixth-graders who might be bullied and gives others empathy and compassion.

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