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Meet Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin with the Beyond Differences Teen Board
Read Jonathan's story in USA Today

My story isn’t unique or special.

My story made headlines around the world, but what I experienced in an NFL locker room would be familiar to countless students in hallways, cafeterias, and gyms.

Even at 6’5” and 315 pounds, the social isolation I experienced made me feel small, insignificant, and alone. It made me feel like an outsider.

I’ve decided to be the national spokesman for Beyond Differences to help kids that are feeling the same social isolation.

By organizing tens of thousands of students, Beyond Differences is changing the culture of middle school across the country – and that means changing the culture of everything.

I’ve been speaking at schools across the Bay Area, and hearing stories from teens. I hear about students reaching out to each other – scooting over at the lunch table, or inviting them to join in at a dance. Sometimes, though, it hurts to hear the struggles of socially isolated students. Then, it hits me: this is why I’m here.

I hope that if we keep this momentum up, one day kids won’t have to grow up feeling isolated by social pressures and loneliness. To do that, I’d love to speak at your school.

Jonathan

National Programs

Know Your Classmates

Our innovative national programs have inspired a cultural and behavioral shift at middle schools and high schools across the country. Join our movement to end social isolation by bringing one or all of these programs to your school.

Know Your Classmates is Beyond Differences' initiative co-sponsored with the Islamic Networks Group (ING) designed to explore middle school youth's identity and belonging, understand traditions, and recognize stereotypes. Multi-cultural and multi-faith backgrounds are common in today's schools and Know Your Classmates is speaking honestly with children about their feelings and experiences with one another. Know Your Classmates Day is Friday, October 20, 2017!

No One Eats Alone

No One Eats Alone™ teaches everyone how to make friends at lunch, often the most difficult part of the school day. Created and organized by students, this is our most popular program where schools in all 50 United States participate! National No One Eats Alone Day is Friday, February 9, 2018.

Call It Out Day

Call It Out is a powerful engagement program for middle school youth, their teachers and families. Focused on creating inclusive communities online, particularly learning to respond to digital gossip to reduce social isolation, National Call It Out Day is April 27, 2018.

All of our programs encourage taking the pledge to never exclude others, reaching out to someone new, and spreading the word that inclusion is cool!

  

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