TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) -- University of Toledo athletes and Walleye players visited some Longfellow Elementary students Thursday, to make sure "No One Eats Alone."
All 53 Toledo Public Schools participated in the nationwide campaign, but Longfellow hosted a special lunchtime event for the program.
"It's an awesome experience, you know, to be able to affect someone's life, even if it's just meeting them simply at a lunch, you still make an impact and you inspire these kids to be better," said Nicholas Carey, UT Football lineman.
The athletes took a seat with the students at the lunch table, to help teach inclusion.
"It can give you more confidence that you can go up to somebody and become their friend and if you have no friends you can make more friends," said 6th grader Roslyn Jackson.
The program encourages students to sit with classmates they don’t know and get to know them and to spot and include others who may feel left out.
"The whole purpose is to eliminate that social isolation where kids are feeling alone especially at lunch, so if we're eliminating any student feeling alone, we're building up their self esteem and they're developing healthy friendships at school and you know its better for their overall well being," said Marissa Hoffman, Longfellow Elementary School counselor.
The athletes interacted with the kids and played ice breaker games.
"I remember myself being one of them little kids whenever football players would come and it's awesome to switch roles, I love making the kids days seeing them smile," said Desmond Bernard, UT Football safety.
"It's great just to see that me being here makes their day, I wish I had something like this to be honest," said Lavel Dumont, UT Football offensive lineman.
"I'm not really used to doing stuff like this, but I wanted to make a change because people did that for me so one of the things I like to do is give back to the kids because that's something I liked when I grew up," said Michael Lacey, UT Football safety.
The group's goal was to help teach a simple, but important lesson.
"Being a guy who got bullied and did some bullying myself, which I'm not obviously proud of back then, you don't know the affect it has on people until you actually go through it, so I think its huge to go through and make sure you let the kids know at a young age it's not right," said Brenden Kotyk, Toledo Walleye defenseman.
Some lucky students were also given tickets to upcoming games for demonstrating outstanding kindness to their classmates.