Cool Kid Andrew Charroux helps tackle social isolation at school

LOS FELIZ, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- This week's ABC7 Cool Kid is Andrew Charroux, a senior at John Marshall High School who started a campus group to help students who may feel isolated from others.

Charroux started the Lunch Bunch, a group focused on inclusion.

"I started the Lunch Bunch really when I realized that there was a lot of social isolation on campus and a lot of students just sitting alone and being disconnected," Charroux said.

"So I started by just talking to some friends and really just getting students on board. And after that, I started training students with skills like open-ended questions, rapport-building techniques, and even safety assessment."

Andrew's passion for understanding mental health started in ninth grade, when he began volunteering for a teen-support hotline.

"And as soon as I started volunteering in the hotline room, and taking calls from students in crisis from all over the U.S. I really just realized how prevalent mental health is. And how it such an important topic that really just goes under the rug, that no one really talks about."

The goal of every Lunch Bunch event is to increase social connectedness - making sure students feel a sense of belonging and community on campus.

"Lunch Bunch is such a great organization because in a time where most kids just communicate through social media, we are encouraged to just start a real life conversation and make real cool friendships," said one student who is a member of the group.

Marshall Principal Gary Garcia said

"Andrew is a great young kid," Garcia said. "He's the type of student every principal wishes he had at his school. He's like another staff member."

So what does the future look like for this teen, who's already making a positive impact on his peers?

"I think going through public policy could be a great way to make large scale change on a national level. I can also see myself doing advocacy work and other forms and working with nonprofits or other organizations like that."
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