Letter: Do your part to help others not feel so alone

From: Pat Walkos


I have been thinking about kids in schools who are sitting alone at recess or lunch or homeroom. So many of them feel left out or feel they don’t fit for so many different reasons.

You know, when our kids are learning to swim or actually swimming, we tell them how important the “buddy system” is for their safety and the safety of their friends or a family member. I saw a segment on “60 Minutes” where a young high school student saw a kid at lunchtime sitting alone, and he decided to go talk to him and stayed with him all through lunch. He realized then that he was onto something that would be worthwhile in getting students involved with each other.

We can all have our best friends that maybe we grew up with, but I remember that I moved far away from the people that I knew when I was 9, and then again when I was 11, to even another city and then back again to my hometown at 13. I really never had any best friends in any of those places. I had to start all over again. So I do know what it is like to feel like an outsider. I think if another student had approached me way back then, some aspects of my life might have been different.

We all need to feel that we are a part of something bigger. We don’t want to do it all alone. Some of us are shy and don’t know how to communicate with people we don’t know. Feeling isolated, we can pull into our shells to protect ourselves. We might feel hurt and that no one really cares or wants us to join in.

So the next time students see someone sitting alone, I hope that they might let him or her know that they see them and are ready to hear them.