WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Some of the most important conversations are the hardest to have. Get in the Game is focused on getting those discussions started.

The nonprofit guides high school students to push past awkward feelings and share uncomfortable truths about social justice issues.

More than 40 GameChangers at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem learn to embrace others’ differences and celebrate each person’s unique strengths.

“It breaks boundaries. It opens up people’s minds to see past whatever differences we may have,” sophomore Justin Kirby said.

Participants like Karis Hill share their opinions and personal experiences with their peers each month.

“We talk about many different things. We talk about things that happen overall in the world. We talk about things that happen in the community, but we also talk about personal things because the conversations do get very personal,” Hill said. “That’s how it’s supposed to be, being vulnerable amongst your peers.”

Get in the Game was founded by longtime Wake Forest University baseball coach Tom Walter and his former player, Kevin Jordan, in 2020.

Their bond formed more than a decade ago when Coach Walter donated a kidney to Jordan.

Walter realized more hard conversations needed to happen when a friend asked if he could be a donor to someone of a different race.

A grant from The Winston-Salem Foundation helped launch the pilot program at Mount Tabor High School.

Trained facilitators give students a safe space to discuss problems and help them reflect on ways to solve them. 

All lessons focus on kindness, empathy, dignity and diversity – known in Get in the Game as K.E.D.D.

“I think we’re a really good mirror of what the world looks like now,” facilitator, teacher and coach Richmond Lyons said. “We can be stronger through our differences, so these conversations about what makes us different can ultimately unite us.”

Students often lead the discussions but they’re careful to listen and learn from each other too.

Senior Kevin Cole says hearing different perspectives has made it easier to connect with others.

“To just find common ground, find common interests and realize even though this person does this, that and the third compared to me, we’re still just all people at the end of the day,” Cole said.

GameChangers like Bryce James are prepared to lead by example. They are ready to transform words into action to benefit the greater community.

“I have to be the one and everyone has to be the one in GameChangers to go have the conversation with others outside of the club,” James said.

You can learn more about Get in the Game and how you can get involved online.