As thought leaders and practitioners for over a decade, Beyond Differences® pioneered the creation of nationwide programs that equip middle school communities with activities and curricula for Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
No One Eats Alone®
Know Your Classmates®
Be Kind Online®
Secret to our Success
Youth Leadership Development
National Teen Board
Professional Development for Teachers
Events & News
What We Do
All of Beyond Differences® programs and curricula focus on the development of Social and Emotional skills for students ages 11 through 14. Our aim is to help teachers and students create welcoming cultures in classrooms, raise cultural awareness, promote diversity and inclusion, and encourage youth to embrace differences and see them as strengths.
Read Our Blog
New Development Consultant Brings Experience and Empathy to her Role
Anyone who knew Amy Hayes when she was growing up in Nashville would characterize her as outgoing and an extrovert. They also would say she was sensitive with regards to other people’s feelings and tuned in to children who didn’t always fit in. “Even as a child, I was...
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
“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,...
(1994 – 2009)
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.
Student Action Days
Join Beyond Differences® by celebrating three Student Action 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 that help them get to know one another and include students 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)