When Denis Estimon first arrived in the US from Haiti, he felt isolated at school. Lunch was especially bad, where students broke into cliques and left kids like him to eat alone. Though Estimon eventually found friends, he never forgot that feeling, and along with other students started We Dine Together.
The purpose of the club was simple: find isolated kids at lunch and sit with them, connect, form relationships. One person at a time, they chipped away at isolation and exclusion, a tall order in high school.
What started as a student club in Boca Raton, Florida has now become a program in schools all over the country. The program has grown – through a partnership with Be Strong – to include more focused outreach as well, including resilience training and advocacy for issues around social isolation.
You can hear Estimon and others talk about the impact of We Dine Together in this CBS Evening News Clip.