Nacogdoches Mayor Jimmy Mize shown with NHS students after reading proclamation

Mayor Jimmy Mize proclaimed Nov. 28 through Dec. 2 as Start With Hello Week in Nacogdoches during a ceremony held Wednesday at Nacogdoches High School. 

During the week of Nov. 28 through Dec. 2, National Honor Society, Key Club, Student Council, Interact, HOSA and NHS Pride at NHS, in partnership with Sandy Hook Promise, a national, nonprofit organization led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, is taking part in Start With Hello Week.

Mize, a 1980 graduate of NHS, read the proclamation to students on behalf of the City Council of Nacogdoches. Mize posed for photos with students and remained on hand afterwards for an interview with KTRE.

Start With Hello is a program that guides students how to reach out to and include those who may be socially isolated as well as to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school or youth organization.

Studies find that excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violent and suicidal behavior. In fact, one study reports chronic loneliness increases by 14 percent the risk of an early death. Additionally, young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence and/or depression. As a result, many further pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development, and/or choose to hurt themselves or others.

Activities planned during the week include, Start With Hello and a Cup of Joe Day where students can enjoy a coffee and mix and mingle with new friends at lunch. Other activities on tap during the week include a balloon arch photo booth, “upstander grams,” an I-Promise handprint tree, chalk art on sidewalks, a “No One Eats Alone” day that will include games at lunch. The final event is an outdoor movie night featuring “The Grinch.”

Start With Hello Week raises awareness and educates students and the community through Start With Hello trainings, advertising, activities, public proclamations, media events, student contests and school awards. Start With Hello Week brings attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation in our schools and communities and empowers young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school or youth organization.

Sandy Hook Promise is a national nonprofit organization led by several family members who lost loved ones at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012. The sole purpose is to prevent gun violence so that no other parent experiences the senseless, horrific, and preventable loss of their child.