As someone who cares deeply about children, you may know social isolation is a very real epidemic. It can cause them to pull away and, in serious situations, even hurt themselves or others. Start With Hello is one of Sandy Hook Promise’s free Know the Signs programs and teaches students to be more socially inclusive and connected to each other.

Start With Hello Program Overview

With activities and curricula available for all ages, the free Start With Hello training program empowers students to end social isolation by teaching them three easy steps:

See Someone Alone: how to recognize the signs of loneliness and social isolation

Reach Out and Help: what students can do to help others feel included

Start With Hello: how to break the ice and strike up a conversation

Start With Hello includes activities and lesson plans that can be used to teach students the skills they need to create a culture of inclusion in their school and community. 

What’s more, our experts have done the planning for you, and you can tailor it to meet your school’s schedule and unique needs. You can complete the student training in a class period and use the activities and lesson plans for year-round engagement. Reach out to us through our contact form if you have any questions.


Grades K-5

Start With Hello Elementary is a digital program that includes an interactive storybook, videos, activities and projects. You’ll also receive an educators’ guide with comprehensive lesson plans based on social-emotional learning to help students build empathy, healthy relationships and social awareness.

Register Your Elementary School

Grades 6-12

Start With Hello Middle and High School is a program that includes train-the-trainer videos, a planning guide and a handbook. Your school will also get an educators’ guide to empower your school to keep the Start With Hello message alive throughout the year.

Register Your Secondary School


Start With Hello Call to Action Week

Want a fun, easy way to create a culture of inclusion that values everyone at your school? Join us for Start With Hello Week!

Who: Your school or organization, and thousands of others!

What: Celebrate Start With Hello, raise awareness about social isolation, and promote inclusion

Where: Your school or youth organization’s hometown

When: Fall 2020 – check back here for exact dates!

How: Start With Hello Week is FREE, flexible, fun and easy to implement

Register online starting in spring 2020, and you’ll receive information and resources to plan an exciting and meaningful Start With Hello Week.

Start With Hello Awards

Sandy Hook Promise is proud to recognize outstanding students, schools and districts for their participation and creativity in Start With Hello Week. See the winners!

Program Background and Details

Start With Hello was developed using extensive research in the field of inclusion, peer relationships, and social isolation. The program was created in collaboration with experts in the field, educators, community leaders, parents and students. Social isolation and loneliness can have significant impact on a students’ mental and physical health, academic performance, and peer relationships.1  

Start With Hello meets evidentiary criteria for the STOP Act. The program was evaluated in a case-control test at Los Angeles Unified School District by the University of Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center. SWH participants had significant improvement in perceptions of school safety. When compared to those that did not attend, Start With Hello participants demonstrated greater willingness and self-efficacy to report warning signs of mental distress and threats, and more positive relationships with trusted adults.  Additionally, results showed directional improvements in attitudes toward school, peer connections and providing a sense of empowerment.2  

Contact us: If you have questions, please reach out to Sandy Hook Promise at

1. Social Isolation
a. Center for Disease Control
b. Beyond Differences
c. WestEd
d. National Center for Biotechnology Information

2. Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2009 O’Malley, & Amarillas, 2011
a. Science Direct