Tulare Western students spreading joy with 'Dude, Be Nice' campaign

Fridays at Tulare Western High School are Spirit Days!

Spreading positive vibes is second nature for members of the program called 'Dude, Be Nice'.

"The main idea behind 'Dude, Be Nice' is to spread kindness to forget about yourself for a second and focus on others and how they feel," says Tulare Western High School junior Tahnia Dawson.

Acts of kindness are done on and off campus. Tulare Western students raised money to give every child at Maple School a new pair of shoes.

"When you're in 4th grade and get a new pair of shoes, you're faster, smarter, cuter, you can run faster and then we do recess games the whole afternoon and it just transforms the whole campus," says Tulare Western Activities Director Stephen Amundson.

Amundson and 'Dude, Be Nice' students shared nine acts of kindness at a recent anti-bullying symposium in Visalia. They hope
these younger students will take these ideas back to their own schools.

"Our desire to see change on your campus has to be greater than your desire to remain the same.z'

Junior Abby Garcia shared how students babysat for teachers one night.

"I think it's important because it gives back to them and gives them time to relax and lets them do what they need to do because we are also their children and they also have their home children and it's just a busy time in their lives."

Students talked about their Feed the Need efforts - delivering food, clothes and toys to low-income families in Tulare County.

Along with giving, there are lessons students take home.

"Personally it has impacted me because it made me realize how lucky and grateful I should be of my life now and also I feel like it's just a great thing to do for other people because they are really appreciative of what we give them," says Dawson.

Senior Alex Delgado takes part in 'Dude Be Nice' Week, and has noticed a change among the Mustangs.

"It just brings the kindness within people because it just promotes it all week long and you feel like the campus has changed and makes it a more approachable campus," Delgado says.

Amundson brought the 'Dude be Nice' program to campus. He's a former Tulare County Teacher of the Year who created the Four Seasons of School Culture - leadership development that's now in over 200 schools nationwide.

"We have a start season where we're really trying to create bonds with our leaders, we have a spirit season, where we're trying to create a fun enthusiastic atmosphere on campus. We have a service season where we're trying to serve our campus and our community and we end year off with a shine season where we are trying to look for different ways to shine the spot on our students who normally stay in the shadows."

Acts of kindness big or small can change someone's life and it never hurts to drive home the message.
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