From Chesapeake, meet Virginia Reps – Brooke & Brett, Be Strong’s January 2020 Students of the Month!

Inducted into Be Strong’s Student State Representative program in the spring of 2018, Brett was the first rep on his high school campus. Co-laboring with Be Strong, he was shifting the social climate with intentional acts of kindness, but Brett knew he could do more.

On every middle and high school campus, someone feels they don’t fit in. Students eat alone and shy away from the social scene. Many of them opt to reclude in vacant corners or classrooms during lunch and other free times. Brett decided his school would be different. With Be Strong, he started a We Dine Together initiative to counter social isolation and bridge the gaps between his peers.

As the initial leader of his and Brooke’s We Dine Together crew, Brett remembers how operating solo wasn’t always easy. “The first year was really rough,” he recalled.  The simplicity of what Brett was trying to do – bring people together – was getting lost. He added, “some of the teachers, students or administration didn’t understand.”

In the fall of 2019, Brooke joined Brett as a Be Strong rep and began co-leading their We Dine Together group. “What I like most is helping people,” she confessed. As humans, we are hardwired to live in community. Our brains are programmed to feel rewarded when we help others.

Recently, Be Strong teamed up with Lion Brand Yarn’s Hat Not Hate initiative, where ‘craftivists’ donated 25,000 unique, handmade blue hats, representing solidarity and awareness. Be Strong students across the country spread awareness about bullying and the free resources available. Our January 2020 Students of the Month, Brett and Brooke, were among the first to get involved, distributing hundreds of them to their fellow students, honoring individual differences.

Together, Brooke and Brett have grown their We Dine Together group substantially. Beginning with only a handful of dedicated members, they now lead more than 30 students in kindness and inclusion efforts across the campus. They feel most rewarded when witnessing the impact they have on other students – students who once felt they didn’t fit into the cultural fabric of the school.

Brooke beamed, “I love watching the transition of change because there is a causal component to it that makes everyone included super involved. I’m just excited to do life with everyone we’ve met through this and witness them become social and happy individuals.”

“I think, for me, it just feels so good to watch others succeed. It’s the little things that make an impact and that is an amazing feeling,” added Brett.

Click here to nominate your inspiring student to lead inclusive change like Brooke and Brett, as a Be Strong Student State Representative program and We Dine Together initiative!

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