UNDATED (WJON News) -- A longtime former teacher and principal at ROCORI is trying to tackle the issue of loneliness among our kids.

Jerry Sparby says for a long time it was believed that it was our senior population who was the most isolated, but we are learning that it is our entire population that is suffering.

A recent report from the U.S. Surgeon General warns that loneliness has become an epidemic health crisis.

He says he believes a majority of kids - if not most of them - are becoming mouth breathers because they have a high level of stress and anxiety. To combat stress in kids, Sparby believes getting kids up and active again is the key which is why he's developed a program called HuddLUp.

We've come up with about 1,000 games. A lot of the games are not our own, we ourselves created about 200 of them the rest are games from other people.  In the app it sorts them by age group.

He says kids have lost the ability to play games with each other. His program offers hundreds of fun options that encourage interaction.

A lot of these kids who have been the invisible kids all of a sudden are up moving but they are also touching each other's hands, or putting a finger on the backs of each other.  We make sure is appropriate touch, but we're allowing them to sense and feel each other in a way that they haven't done before.

Sparby says they are now in about 100 classrooms in central Minnesota where they teach the kids about two new games every week.

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HuddLUp has a website and a mobile app that is primarily designed as a tool for teachers and parents to use as a way to get kids off technology and interact with each other in a fun and meaningful way again.


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