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California Schools, Health Net & The Centene Foundation Create a Culture of Belonging Through National No One Eats Alone® Day

Date: 02/20/24

More than 2,000 schools nationwide are expected to participate in this year's event

Sacramento, February 20, 2024
– Health Net, one of California’s most experienced Medi-Cal managed care health plans and wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, supported No One Eats Alone® Day, a prevention initiative aimed at fostering inclusion and a culture of belonging in middle schools. California schools hosted events on Feb. 16, 2024, with the help of Health Net. Centene Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Centene Corporation, sponsored the event.

"Social isolation has emerged as a significant concern in our society, with various studies highlighting its impact on mental and physical health," said Amber Kemp, vice president, Medi-Cal regional lead at Health Net. "Partnering with Beyond Differences to support No One Eats Alone® Day allows us to encourage students to break out of their comfort zones, make new connections and foster a sense of community with their peers. This community building is essential to the overall well-being of our youth."

According to public health research, social isolation has been found to have negative impact on the mental wellbeing of children, leading to issues such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, thoughts of suicide, and higher chances of engaging in substance abuse. A study by Beyond Differences indicated that when students are provided programs to learn about social isolation and given the tools to connect with classmates, nearly 85 percent of the students felt empowered to be leaders and create a culture of acceptance and belonging at their school.  

The nonprofit organization Beyond Differences® established No One Eats Alone as an initiative to combat social isolation. This year, over 1 million students are expected to participate in activities designed to teach them about social isolation and the negative impact it can have on health and academic performance. With in-class lessons, interactive exercises and a creative art project that focuses on growing our social connections, students will work together to make their school more welcoming and accepting for everyone. 

"This year's No One Eats Alone theme, Let’s Grow: Planting New Connections, was inspired by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on social connection where he spotlights the negative health effects of social isolation and emphasizes that connections need to be nurtured like a garden,” says Laura Talmus, co-founder, and executive director of Beyond Differences. “Our curriculum dives deep into recognizing emotions, understanding social isolation and gives students tools to be social isolation disruptors and ambassadors of belonging."

Last Updated: 04/26/2024