In March, we launched the second phase of our Just Say Hello campaign to fight loneliness. The goal: bring our mission of inclusion to schools across the country. We partnered with Skype in the Classroom, a platform that works with thousands of teachers worldwide, to create Just Say Hello chapters with student ambassadors in elementary and middle schools. As a new school year begins, here's a look at how three classrooms met the challenge:

Buddy Bench
"Students often feel loneliest at recess, so my students created a 'buddy bench' on the playground," says Darcy Grimes, a fourth-grade teacher at Claxton Elementary School in Asheville, North Carolina. "They decorated the bench with the words Just Say Hello and told everyone about it. If anyone felt left out, they could sit on the bench and the ambassadors would come over to talk to them. When a new student started in the spring, I told her about the bench, and the first thing she asked was, 'Does it work?' That day at lunch she sat on it, and sure enough, within seconds, she was surrounded by five students. Afterward, she said, 'It really works! I wasn't by myself the first day at recess.'"

No-Phone Lunch
"Our students are allowed to use their cell phones during breaks from class and at lunch, but that usually means no one is actually talking to one another," says Carr Fullagar, a teacher at Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington, North Carolina. "Our ambassadors issued a challenge to the entire middle school: Could they go one lunch period without their phones? Not everyone participated, but those who did enjoyed it. One student told me she used the time to play with friends."

Find-a-Friend Booth
"Saying you're lonely can be embarrassing," says Scott Bedley, a fifth-grade teacher at Plaza Vista School in Irvine, California. "Our Just Say Hello club members came up with a way to help kids who say they have no one to talk to. They turned an old voting booth into a 'find-a-friend' center that they set up on the playground. Kids could walk in and talk about what they were feeling, and the ambassadors would match the child with another student based on their interests. It's been a huge success—these kids are learning to understand another person's needs and display true empathy."

Feeling Inspired?
Bring the Just Say Hello Ambassador Project to your community! Download our starter kit at education.skype.com/justsayhello.

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