KTVB Boise (April 2018) — The cafeteria—the loneliest (and scariest) place for any anxious middle schooler—but not at Eagle Middle School Thursday, April 12th morning. Armed with dozens of free donuts, a few icebreakers, and a little encouragement, two local business owners teamed up to help students make new friends and feel less isolated.
“My family moved around a lot, so I know what it feels like to always be the ‘new kid,’” recalled Amy Hecht, a former Eagle Middle School teacher, turned local business owner. “As an educator, I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of bullying and loneliness on children who are doing their best to fit in at school. We want them to know that we see them, and we care about them.”
Making new residents feel welcomed in Boise is the mission of Hecht’s successful business Our Town America, a new mover marketing franchise. After learning about the “We Dine Together” movement — a national student-led initiative that helps students from all walks of life feel included— from a recent “Seven’s Hero” feature by KTVB’s very own Maggie O’Mara, Hecht joined forces with Prum Nouhem, the owner of DK Donuts. Together, they lead by example. With a passion for activism and youth, both entrepreneurs are inspiring Boise’s youngest residents to embrace newcomers and learn more about their community.
“Our kids represent the best of Boise, and it’s up to the grownups to support them,” said Nouhem, an immigrant who now calls Treasure Valley home after escaping political persecution in Cambodia. “We want a world where everyone can work toward peace, and that starts with encouraging our kids to believe in themselves.”
Dozens of students enjoyed freshly baked donuts and friendly conversation with their classmates and teachers Thursday. Hecht and Nouhem have issued a challenge to other local business owners, asking them to donate food, supplies, and lessons in leadership for future “We Dine Together” events.
“We can’t just tell them to make new friends, we have to show them how to do it,” said Hecht. “That means giving them space and the resources to make our world a better place.”
Watch the KTVB Boise clip below for full story.
To contact Amy Hecht of Our Town America of Boise, ID, complete a Contact Form or call 208-866-9540.