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“Be Nice.” presents mental health and anti-bullying presentation to Dickinson County elementary school

The “Be Nice.” program started at Iron Mountain public schools two years ago, with the goal to improve mental health culture in the community
The “Be Nice.” program started at Iron Mountain public schools two years ago, with the goal to improve mental health culture in the community.
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 7:19 PM EST
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - Children at North Elementary chanted, asked questions, and earned
prizes during today’s mental health and anti-bullying assembly. The “Be Nice.” organization at Iron Mountain Public Schools met with children early kindergarten through 4th grade.

“The sooner that you start talking to kids about mental health and anti-bullying, the easier it is for them to build upon that when they get older,” said Dawn Smith, Iron Mountain “Be Nice.” Faculty Advisor.

“Be Nice.” is an acronym for Notice, Invite, Challenge, and Empower. Students were split into groups to create chants for each word.

“We want them to remember that the way that you treat people can really affect how they think, feel and act, and that is mental health,” Smith said.

The organization has 20 student ambassadors. Teachers nominated them for being role models.

“Mental health has a huge stigma around it, and we are really trying to change that. Even in a community as small as Iron Mountain, it is great to have,” said Hailey Greenleaf, “Be Nice.” Ambassador and Iron Mountain 10th Grader.

Because of the pandemic, Smith says she notices children struggle with missing their friends, teachers, and the routine school provides.

“They aren’t alone, and that other people go through this,” Greenleaf said.

During the assembly, Smith noticed one child was visibly upset and crying, and she stepped in to help.

“He raised his hand to answer a question, which we all know takes bravery. His response got a chuckle,” Smith explained. “I think he was too young to understand that they weren’t laughing at him, [but rather] it wasn’t the answer the crowd expected. I wanted to make sure he knew that.”

Smith says helping the child is the whole reason she is there. “Be Nice.” started less than two years ago at Iron Mountain, and Smith hopes to see the group continue to grow.

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