FORT DODGE, Iowa- Two Fort Dodge 8th graders decided they had enough of bullies in their school, so they decided to do something about it. Fort Dodge Middle School had an incident in January where bullying was caught on video. Though they were not involved in that incident, the girls said they felt compelled to act.
Amanda Nava, and Tatyana Mosley spent time watching a music video called "Never Ever," by youth motivational speaker Keenan West, of Cincinnati OH. They both loved the message of the song about sticking with those who are bullied, and how to be brave in those situations.
On a whim, Amanda sent West an email asking if he could maybe come to Fort Dodge. A few hours later she was shocked which West answered her email. The two girls shared this with school administration, and details were worked out so Keenan West could bring his "Secret Mean Stinks Tour" to Fort Dodge. Secret is the corporate sponsor for the tour.
"We were both bullied bad here," said Nava. "We're tired of it and we wanted to do something about it."
West presented a high energy program to show kids, that it's okay to be different. He also challenged them at lunch to sit by someone who may be alone, who usually doesn't have friends. He said you may get teased by your friends if you do that, but he added, " you may need to find some new friends.
"We didn't want to focus on what bullying looked like," said West of his music video. " We wanted to celebrate young students like Amanda, and Tatyana, and other students who have the courage to do something about it."
"Bullying happens all around even if you are the victim of bullying speak up," said Nava. "Just a little bit of kindness can change somebody's perspective."
West said students should not try to confront bullies, but rather try to come to the aid of those who have been bullied. He said kindness is the key to stopping bullies. He said kids should pay attention to the lyrics of what they listen to. He said they should listen to positive messages.
The girls had shared the West video with friends to promote his visit to Fort Dodge. They even made T-shirts, and posters to put up around the school to let kids know about it.
The whole Secret Mean Stinks Anti-Bullying Tour is all about giving students answers," said West.
See the Keenan West video which inspired the girls here.