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

Happening Now

Hello Friendship: The Perfect Cookie is Meant to be Shared

Hello Friendship: The Perfect Cookie is Meant to be Shared

Our Hello Friendship initiative inspires friendships but requires a secret ingredient: YOU! Inspiring friendships, disrupting social isolation, and creating cultures of belonging - these are the fundamental ingredients that make up the Beyond Differences mission. We...

Weaving the Invisible Fabric of Connectedness

Weaving the Invisible Fabric of Connectedness

“He yelled hate at me and my grandma and no one did anything.  I have to ride that bus tomorrow. My mom tells me to be safe, but how am I supposed to NOT be Asian?” The young man’s tearful rage made the Zoom classroom fall silent.  As I looked out at my students,...

We Must Prioritize Collaboration and Community

We Must Prioritize Collaboration and Community

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 partnership with Marin County Office of Education for 5th-...

(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.

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.

National Awareness Days

Join Beyond Differences® by celebrating 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!

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)