We Dine Together Club at Boca High School Garners National Media Attention

December 2017

What started as a call to action to high school students to come up with an idea to make an impact on fellow students at their school has now caught the attention of national media, earning students the opportunity to be featured on CBS Evening News.

 

The We Dine Together Club at Boca Raton High School includes a group of friends who are members of Propel (People Reaching out to Provide Education & Leadership). As a service project, the students were challenged to come up with something they could do at their school to promote inclusion.

Denis Estimon remembered when he immigrated to this country from Haiti when he was in first grade and how the isolation from his school mates made him feel. “It’s not a good feeling. You can’t go through life alone.” Estimon says.

Flash forward to his senior year, and you’ll find Estimon walking his school campus daily during lunch — with a purpose. Estimon finds those students who are eating alone and makes a point to introduce himself, sometimes stopping to have a chat, sometimes sharing a bite to eat, but always finding a way to make a connection with someone who might feel isolated.

“We reach the un-reached,” says teacher adviser Jordan Hernandez.

And with a campus of just over 3,400 students all sharing lunch at the same time, there are plenty of students who hadn’t been reached. Some may be new to the school, some have just gone unnoticed by someone or failed to make a connection with other students, but Estimon and his friends are looking to end that.

Often the conversation ends with an invitation to join the We Dine Together Club for pizza on Wednesdays where the students work on team building, self esteem or discuss current events. “Even we don’t rope them in, I still say ‘hey’ to them every time I see them, and maybe that is how we connect with them,” he says.

“At first we didn’t know if we were just feeding kids pizza,” Estimon says of the group that started at the beginning of the year. “By Thanksgiving we were getting great feedback and we started to see we were doing something here.”

Steve Hartman, reporter with “On the Road with Steve Hartman” and correspondent with CBS Sunday Morning, saw something, too. He and a photographer spent two days at the school last month talking to the students and making the rounds as Estimon and other members of the club reached out and shook hands.

“Anti-bullying campaigns bring awareness, but don’t show kids what to do about it,” Hartman told Estimon as they talked for the show. “This is a practical solution.” Hartman even suggested it’s something that adults could even make a point to do from time to time.

Click here to watch Hartman’s story on the club.

Note: The story will air on also CBS Sunday Morning at a later date to be determined.

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