December 7, 2021 by By Cathy Stack
Jonny often experienced anxiety and jitters on the first day of each new school year. He worried that he would struggle to make new friends. Thanks to Lakira, this year was different. He looked forward to joining his friend at lunch, and his whole world brightened. He would go home and talk excitedly about Lakira.
His mother noticed the positive difference in her son. He appeared happier and more confident, and looked forward to going to school. It was clear to his mother just how much Lakira’s friendship meant to Jonny, and she wanted all kids to experience the same positive transformation. So, with Jonny and Lakira, she brainstormed the idea of forming a friendship-building club in their school. They envisioned an inclusive club where every student was welcomed to join. They named it the ‘Not Alone Club’ and even created a fun club handshake. More than 100 students signed up and pledged to join and engage in conversation with another student they saw eating alone.
Lunchtime at Johns Creek is very different now for Jonny and other kids who normally sat alone in the school cafeteria. Now, every seat at Jonny’s lunch table is filled. Loud chatter and laughter can be heard erupting from the cheerful group of new friends.
"My heart feels happy," Jonny said.
"I've sat alone before at lunch and it doesn't feel good, and I don't want anyone else to feel like that," shared club president, Claire Lazzeri.
"It's inspiring for the kids to come together and do this. It's awesome," Lakira enthusiastically said.
Lakira said she hopes that forming the group together is an example to Jonny that people can do anything they put their minds to, especially if they do it together.
Jonny’s mother said that Lakira is special in her heart for the kindness she has shown her son. Lakira even researched autism to learn how she could support her new friend. Lakira shared that Jonny’s friendship is just as special to her as it is to him.
PassItOn and The Foundation For A Better Life believe that Lakira is a true hero. Her action is a wonderful example of the value of kindness. She took the time to meet, get to know and learn about a child who appeared to need a friend. Her compassionate act started a chain reaction of kindness in her school and others. Please help us celebrate Lakira by sharing her heartwarming story.
Watch Video Here: https://www.11alive.com/video/life/heartwarming/custodian-high-schooler-with-autism-form-club-to-keep-people-from-eating-lunch-alone/85-387d8a91-569b-4f52-9c96-3ef782e0dfee?jwsource=cl
Please tell us about your everyday hero. The heroes among us are ordinary people whose actions leave a lasting and positive impact in their communities and demonstrate the potential in all of us. Their heroic acts uphold our shared values. Help honor these individuals by creating a billboard and sharing their story at: www.passiton.com/your-billboards/create.
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