“We can treat everyone equally. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what color your skin is. We are all humans and deserve to be treated the same way as all other humans.”–Aanya K., grade 3, 826LA

“How would you make the world a more inclusive place?” This October, we asked students to Write for Inclusion with us and Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up initiative and share their thoughts and ideas for building a more inclusive world.

For the past four years, we’ve been partnering with Cartoon Network to foster inclusion among students to prevent bullying in the classroom, in virtual spaces, and in their communities. Through thought-provoking writing prompts, social-emotional learning lessons, and at-home publishing opportunities, we encouraged students to include someone, promote acts of kindness, and make a difference with us. 

“Kindness makes me feel happy, and I want to be kind to others too. One thing that I do to be kind is to get the bed ready at night for my family.” –Devin, grade 2, 826 Boston.

On this World Kindness Day, we invite you to celebrate our students’ wisdom with us and reflect on how we can all make this world a more inclusive place. If we listen closely to this young generation, we can all learn a thing or two.   

“You can include anyone to play with kids. And do not say no to anyone when you are in a game of something. They are gonna feel sad; you are gonna be sad. You want to have friends. Include kids to play with you.” –Nasir, grade 2, 826 Boston.

Amaru from 826 Valencia reminded us that the cultural barriers that sometimes divide us can also unite us in a meaningful way. 

“My first language is Spanish, but I learned English. When I was in first grade, I couldn’t really talk to anyone because I only spoke Spanish, but two friends actually helped me learn English by coming all the way up to fourth grade with me. My friends were funny, supportive, and positive.” –Amaru D., grade 6, 826 Valencia.  

Racial justice was also a topic at the forefront of our students’ minds. As 826 MSP student Sabrin pointed out, to “Get rid of racism” is a crucial step towards a more equal, inclusive society.

To help bring their stories to life, Cartoon Network turned 826 New Orleans student Markia’s story into a beautifully-animated video that you can watch on our Facebook page. There you will find Markia’s story and many others from previous collaboration over the years.

826 New Orleans also partnered with Be Loud Studios to record their students’ pieces—and the result completely blew our minds! Listen to student Jack, aka DJ Beatmaker, and take a moment to absorb his precious advice on how to speak up against bullying. 

Besides sharing some thoughtful advice on how to stop bullying and foster inclusion in their communities, students also wrote heartfelt essays on their daily experiences that you can find on 826 Digital and on our social media accounts in the coming days. Even though National Bullying Prevention Month has ended, fostering inclusion and creating safe spaces is a year-round activity. The social-emotional learning lessons and writing prompts available on 826 Digital can be used anytime to ignite meaningful conversations with students.

“I believe anyone is able to have bravery within themselves. No matter what age you are, whether you’re short or tall, soft or tough—anyone can be brave in different ways.” –Kayla M., grade 8, 826CHI.

Through their words, inclusive actions, and generosity, our students are leading the way to a kinder, more inclusive society. We’re following in their footsteps and looking forward to a future of equality and inclusion for all—one that welcomes and cherishes diverse perspectives.

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