Being a teenager in high school can be challenging. Some people love it, some people hate it, and some people barely remember it. Some of us have good experiences like being with friends, or partying, or making a new friend. But sadly, some people don’t have a positive high school experience, and struggle with finding friends and fitting in. There can be a lot of pressure and judgement in school. I feel strongly that high school should be a place for new beginnings and new opportunities, and that is why I came up with the idea of “Belong”.
Belong has four main ideas that can help to promote a space where we can all Belong. They are: inclusivity, hope, health, and awareness. I have felt the pressures of high school and the feelings of being vulnerable and alone. The fear that one wrong move could be socially devastating, and that feeling that everyone will judge me. Fitting in is not always easy. But just knowing that other kids feel the same way can help. Finding something that makes you feel like you belong can help. A club, a team, band, sports, something that you can feel passionate about. Once I found the thing that drives me and makes me happy, then I felt amazing. I had something to look forward to. Taking care of myself physically helped me feel better mentally. And helping someone else is one of the best feelings ever. All of those pieces fit together to make you a stronger person. Feeling like you Belong is the belong way.
You can help make a difference. Did you know:
- 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder
- Youth are among the highest risk populations for suicide
- Mental illness is the number one disability affecting people in the world.
Belong stands for:
1) Being more inclusive.
2) Having and giving hope.
3) Believing in better health.
4) Becoming more aware of ourselves and the people around us.
Gabe Rossitter - Founder of Belong