Inspiring Students Nationwide to End Social Isolation and Create Cultures of Belonging for Everyone.

Our Work

SEL Curriculum

Social Emotional Learning curriculum that wraps around the school year centered around three National Awareness Days. Designed by teachers for educators and SEL Influencers with middle school students in mind – easily adapted for elementary and high school students.

Youth Leadership

The Beyond Differences model is predicated on the notion that students influencing and being role models for their younger peers is not only an effective means of changing school culture, it’s also a natural and profoundly life-changing opportunity for youth themselves to tackle the issue of social isolation. 

SEL Public Policy

We support the advancement of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Policy at the state level through involvement in Advancing SEL In California by engaging educators in generating solutions that advance SEL to meet the needs of the moment (COVID -19 pandemic + systematic racism) and are now taking action.

Professional Development

Innovative Educator Cohorts comprised of teachers and other SEL influencers. In partnership with mental health practitioners, experts in diversity, equity and inclusion, and Beyond Differences own in-house SEL professionals we provide educators educational workshops and coaching that support them.

(1994 – 2009)

Our Inspiration

Beyond Differences was created in memory of Lili Rachel Smith. She endured the pain of social isolation and feeling different.

Lili is the heart and guiding light of the organization.

Recent Posts

We Must Prioritize Collaboration and Community

We Must Prioritize Collaboration and Community

Author: Lisette Ostrander, Ph.D.Director of Education Programs As I get ready to jump into this school year and finalize content for Beyond Differences National Educator Cohorts, I reflect on a social and emotional learning (SEL) workshop Beyond Differences hosted in...

National Awareness Days

Join us by celebrating Beyond Differences’ three National Awareness Days that promote Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), help to end social isolation and create a culture of inclusion at your school! Reserve 2021 resources to conduct these programs at your school now.

Know Your Classmates™ Day

Designed to explore youth identity and belonging + help students embrace diversity, and help students speak honestly about their feelings. Now includes teen created lessons on How to be An Ally, Diverse Expressions of Gender, Recognizing Bias, and Anti Racism + National Stand Up for Asian American Youth Campaign materials. (FALL) 

No One Eats Alone® Day

Youth learn to make new friends at lunch beyond their existing peer groups through community building activities, courageous conversations, and how to include those who are being left out.  (WINTER) 

Be Kind Online™ Day

Focused on creating inclusive communities online and ending social isolation in digital spaces. Students learn how to stand up to hateful behaviors, positive and negative aspects of screen time, social media’s effect on emotions and how to regulate those feelings, how to build self-confidence online and how to build your future online. (SPRING)