EUGENE, Ore., -- Lunch can be a time to socialize in school, but for some students, it can be hard and they can end up eating alone. That's why Cascade Middle School took steps to make lunchtime more inclusive.
On Friday, the school sponsored No One Eats Alone Day, where they used random seating in the lunchroom to make sure students sat by someone new. The school partnered with Trillium, a healthcare organization to host the event.
The goal was to teach students how to interact with each other and give them additional skills in forming new relationships.
"I hope some of the kids make some new friends," Meesha Petersen, a student organizing the event said. "I really think it's important for people to socialize and just get to know each other."
Lisa Roth, the chief behavioral health officer at Trillum, said helping students connect with others can impact them mentally, physically and academically. She said making sure kids don't feel socially isolated can help ease anxiety and depression.
"So when you do see a kid and they are not talking and don't have a lot of friends, all it takes is a hello or some kind of commitment to reach out to that kid," Roth said. "We are trying to bring awareness that everyone needs to have a friend, everyone needs to feel connected and find meaning in their lives. Especially for kids, peers are the most important part of that."
Roth said she hopes the event will teach kids how to connect with each other and gives them practical skills they can use in the future.