The Importance of No One Eats Alone Day
Sacramento City Unified students are joining the February 9 National No One Eats Alone Day, a student-led lunchtime event that aims at making all kids feel included and helping to end social isolation.
This year the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) Board of Education unanimously approved Resolution 2982 authored by Board President Jessie Ryan which recognizes the day and its significance.
No One Eats Alone Day began in 2010 by the parents of Lili Smith who was born with a cranial facial syndrome which led to her social isolation during her middle school years. When Lili died at age 15 from medical complications related to her syndrome, former classmates wanted to change the circumstances that isolated Lili by encouraging acts of inclusion among their fellow students. Lili’s parents also started a foundation, Beyond Differences, to combat teasing and bullying.
In Sacramento City Unified schools, this programs fits into the work of making our schools safer and healthier places for children to learn and grow. Our district was one of the first to pass a sweeping anti-bullying policy and to employ a full-time Bullying Prevention Specialist–Jessica Wharton.
“It’s hard to dislike someone when you know their story,” Wharton said. “Social isolation is a problem for many of our students; and often times, can lead to students being bullied or feeling excluded. By reducing social isolation, we can encourage students to engage with one another. National No One Eats Alone Day brings students together to engage in acts of kindness at lunch; and this kindness should be shown every day.”
Although No One Eats Alone Day started as a middle and high school effort, at Sac City, all schools are encouraged to commemorate the day. As of Wednesday, participating schools include the following elementary and K-8 schools: John Bidwell, Elder Creek, Abraham Lincoln, Bret Harte, Hollywood Park, Woodbine, Ethel Phillips, Parkway, John Still and Father Keith B. Kenny. Will C. Wood and Fern Bacon Middle Schools and C.K. McClatchy High School students are also marking the day.
Fern Bacon Bulldogs have participated in the national event since 2015. Principal Mary Coronado, credits Leadership teacher Sherri Donovan for helping students celebrate the day. Coronado said Donavan takes time to guide students through the theme of the event and understand “the power of togetherness.”