The EVERYONE BELONGS Initiative

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Vision: A world where everyone feels valued, accepted, included, and empowered.

Mission statement: To help children, families, and educators understand that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”* and that we all belong to the same great human family.

*from Article 1 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

Belief statement: We believe in the fundamental worth, the inherent dignity, and the equal rights of all human beings.

Values: Kindness, Respect, Inclusion, Courage

Who We Are

We are a 501c3 nonprofit charitable organization (filing in process) that partners with other nonprofit organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Utah Muslim Civic League, the Interfaith Network Group, Mormon Women for Ethical Government, and Their Story is Our Story (TSOS) to promote the message in our schools that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and that we all belong to the same great human family.

What We Do

Adhering to the philosophy of “educate a child, change the world,” we take our message of kindness, respect, inclusion, and courage into our schools in the form of engaging, age-appropriate, high quality assemblies that address, head-on, the issue of the “othering” and bullying that sometimes occur because of differences of faith traditions, ethnicity, race, and other factors. The main message of these assemblies is that “Everyone Belongs!” Our elementary school assembly is an upbeat, engaging musical program while the assemblies for middle schools and high schools are 100% student-led and involve powerful multi-media presentations and interactive activities.

We will be debuting these assemblies in the Granite School District in Utah (where 70-80% of Utah’s refugee population lives) in the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020. Eventually, we plan to take these assemblies into every school in the state, and then expand into other states.

These assemblies are but stage one of our initiative. We are also working on developing curriculum for the classroom and for families that teaches these values of kindness, respect, inclusion, and courage and the message that “Everyone Belongs.” Eventually, we also plan to offer diversity training and unconscious bias training for teachers and administrators.

Why We Do It

Over the past decade or so, there has been significant research done in the area of the so-called science or neuroscience of belonging—one of our primal, fundamental human need. (See, for example, all the research coming out of The Belonging Project at Stanford University.) A sense of belonging appears to be an important key to happiness, well-being, and mental health. Children (and adults) who feel like they belong tend to thrive, while those who feel they don’t belong experience serious psychological and physiological challenges.

Of all the risk factors for suicidal behavior, the strongest and most consistent is a feeling of not belonging.

As fellow passengers on this fragile planet floating in the endless expanse of space, we all need to look out for one another. This earth is home to all of us. We are one big human family, and we all belong.

 

As fellow passengers on this fragile planet floating in the endless expanse of space, we all need to look out for one another. This earth is home to all of us. We are one big human family, and we all belong.

 

“We rise by lifting others.”

Robert Ingersoll