A Danbury middle school is getting big recognition, and some big bucks, for their work on an anti-bullying program.
The program is called “Start with Hello,” and it’s catching on across the country.
At Broadview Middle School in Danbury, inclusion starts with a “hello.”
"Everybody wants to be nice to new kids and stuff but they don't know how, and this kind of game them a frame to do it,” Declan Jakobson, a seventh grader, said.
Jakobson is one of the student leaders of the program, which was organized through the Sandy Hook Promise.
"This is an important social skill, it's so easy to do, and yet it makes a huge impact on someone's life,” said Nicole Hockley, a Sandy Hook parent.
Nearly 1,000 schools registered to participate in Start with Hello, and 100 joined in a competition to show how they’re including it in their culture.
The Promise says the entries started pouring in, from places like Idaho.
Ultimately the top 10 was chosen across the country, with Broadview Middle School coming out on top.
The commitment is seen in a video they submitted for the contest, and certainly in the signs lining the school hallways.
Sandy Hook father Mark Barden said it is touching to see the message spreading, a message his 7-year-old son Daniel had embraced in his short life.
"It's very personal because we get to see Daniels little beautiful spirit of awareness and kindness going forward,” Barden said.
On Friday, he thanked the children for setting the bar so high, and gave them $10,000 from the Sandy Hook Promise to keep the momentum going.
He said the real reward is knowing that when the students see someone sitting alone, they will know exactly what to do.
The Start with Hello program is free, schools can sign up for it on the Sandy Hook Promise website, here.
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