Motivational speaker talks respect, anti-bullying

Posted By: Camila Orti

His message is simple: “Dude, be nice.”

Motivational speaker Mike Smith is trying to change the way kids think about each other. He's urging high schoolers across the U.S. to simply be nice.

“If you walk up and down the halls of your high school and you act like everyone's on the same level, the same playing field, you start to evaluate yourself in a different way,” Smith said.

The Imperial native brought his message to hundreds of high school DECA students Thursday morning at The Cornhusker Hotel. The Runza-sponsored campaign is called “Be the Difference.”

“It was a really inspiring story and it made me want to go out and help people,” Charlotte Tjaden from Omaha Westside High School said.

“It makes you think about yourself for a minute, like why am I doing this, why am I trying to be who I'm gonna be,” Skylar Shaner from Papillion-La Vista South High School said.

Smith's presentation comes one day after we brought you the story of Frida Aguilera De la Torre, a 13–year–old from Irving Middle School. She was followed and beaten as she was walking home in January. One of her attackers recorded the incident on their cell phone.

Now, the eighth grader is scared every time she goes to school.

“I just don't want to feel what I felt that day, I don't wanna feel scared,” Frida said.

Smith thinks the solution is within reach.

“Selfishness is kinda at the core of a lot of kids' lives and if we can teach kids to not be selfish, we can ultimately change the world, that's my hope,” Smith said.

He's been touring the country since January and will wrap up in June. Smith is also the founder of Skate for Change, a nonprofit that empowers skateboarders to donate to the homeless.