Beyond Differences is a community organization that truly makes a difference in the lives of those it serves. By empowering teens to lead the organization and supporting middle school students in transforming the culture of their schools, Beyond Differences is helping to end social isolation in middle and high schools throughout the country. Utilizing innovative programs-- such as No One Eats Alone (addressing social isolation during school lunches) and Be The One (addressing social isolation online) -- Beyond Differences is the only nonprofit working to eliminate social isolation, the precursor to bullying.
I first became aware of Beyond Differences when my daughter returned from school transformed by the assembly given at her middle school, she was in 6th grade. After a long family discussion at dinner we were all impressed with the message as well as how it was being delivered. My daughter has since joined the teen board and is extremely energized by the work she is involved with. Her excitement to spread the word and help build awareness about social isolation is contagious. It takes passion, enthusiasm and dedication to reach out to the teen population, which is where this movement has the biggest impact. Beyond Differences is a dynamic organization that is making a difference in the lives of teens.
As a member of the Advisory board of Beyond Differences, I have seen how this organization has developed over the years and made a significant impact on the lives of many.
What an incredible organization Beyond Differences is! My daughter has been involved with this organization for 3 years and I can honestly say that they have made a huge difference ending social isolation in our community. These kids are given the tools, and instruction by fabulous teachers, community leaders and activists and guidance to lead discussions on ending social isolation. The teens actively make a difference because they are leading discussions on the two main programs, No One Eats Alone and Be the One. They are inspirational and teach middle school students how to work together. Beautiful people and beautiful organization. I can't say enough about the fabulous leadership and incredible message they are sending.
I have been working with Beyond Differences for the past two years. Beyond Differences is a great organization that works with the middle schools to make them more accepting places. Beyond Differences address an issue that is incredibly prevalent and not often talked about. I am incredibly proud to be a member of the Teen Board.
My daughter joined this group two years ago because its core mission resonated with her. I've volunteered in a couple of ways, mostly minor, but throughout I've been blown away by the organization. The adults are deeply committed, but the drive truly comes from the kids, who see the cost of social isolation every day. The eloquence with which the teen board members and other kids express the need for change, and for change to come through individual choices is incredibly powerful. I'm both proud and humbled that my daughter brought us into this organization.
This is my son's second year participating in Beyond Differences and I feel so fortunate that he in the program. His leadership and social skills have improved, and he's gained a greater compassion for others. Through assemblies, club activities, and activism Beyond Differences creates an awareness of the social isolation that adolescents can face, and strives to make middle school a more accepting and inclusive environment. The wonderful and dedicated staff of Beyond Differences knows that social change takes time, but are committed to a long term vision of reasonable and thoughtful program growth. Future middle school generations will undoubtedly benefit from their questioning social norms and advocating for acceptance and change.
Beyond Differences is unique in that it is truly led by the students themselves. All of its programs and initiatives have been developed and have grown out of hearing the voices and feedback of students. Students all want to be good, to feel good about themselves, and to make others feel good about themselves-- and Beyond Differences empowers students with those tools. The foundational belief is that these students really CAN make a difference and change the culture of their middle schools. And they are doing so! With the support of these kids, their parents, and some excellent educators, Beyond Differences is expanding and will continue to make a difference in the lives of the people it reaches.
Beyond Differences is making a difference. I have been lucky enough to see a number of the assembly programs Beyond Differences has presented and have seen first hand the positive reaction from the students. The kids enter the assembly hall talking, joking, an unruly mass of preadolescence but after they hear the compelling story from each Beyond Differences Teen Board member and enter into discussion about social isolation they leave the assembly thoughtful, inspired, and a little more grown up. Beyond Differences is sowing the seed so that every student will want to be the one person who reaches out and makes a peer feel more included. Beyond Differences is changing the culture of middle school.
Being part of Beyond Differences has changed everything about me, from my mind set to the simple ways to make someone feel special. Smiling at someone in the hallway, moving from one table where all your friends are to sit with someone who is alone. Becoming friends with someone you wouldn't imagine ever talking to. Thinking about how people feel, opening up becoming a better person in general. All because of Laura and Ace I feel like I belong. Thank you.