Students at Moses DeWitt Elementary School tried something new at lunch Tuesday, but it had nothing to do with food. It’s called “Mix it Up at Lunch Day,” where students sit with a different group of peers at lunch.
October 22 is the official global "Mix it Up at Lunch Day," organized by international non-profit Teaching Tolerance.
"It's random, so kids that don't usually sit together will sit together today and practice getting to know new friends, and practice conversation skills," said school social worker Sarah Hayes.
She says the campaign aims to help students learn to accept and embrace differences in their classmates.
"It's really about teaching kids that even though kids may look different from them, are different friends than they're used to sitting with, that they can get to know kids, and maybe even form new friendships in that regard," she said.
This is the second year that Moses DeWitt Elementary has participated in the campaign, and Hayes says it’s been a success.
"Ninety percent of kids are begging for more Mix it Up days, even the next day they'll be like 'Can we do it again tomorrow, can we do it again next week?'," she said.
At the same time, she says some students aren’t as excited about Mix it Up at Lunch Day. But Hayes still encourages them to participate.
"It's really great practice for kids that are really set in their ways and comfortable doing the same thing everyday, it's great practice for them to be pushed a little bit out of their comfort zone," she said.
Millions of students around the world participate in Mix It Up at Lunch day during October. According to Teaching Tolerance, "Mix It Up at Lunch Day is an international campaign that encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries."
Hundreds of institutions around the world participate in the campaign officially, including nearly 50 colleges and universities and over 3,200 K-12 schools. Find out more at tolerance.org/mix-it-up.