GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – It was announced today that the Andy Lubbers ”Be Nice.” Memorial Fund was established through the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to help provide funds for mental health awareness in schools within Kent County.
Don and Nancy Lubbers created the fund in honor of their late son Andy who died last September from suicide, after struggling with mental illness for 25 years. After his passing, the Lubbers were looking to help spread the word about mental illness and suicide, and hopefully help others.
The Lubbers heard about the “Be Nice.” program and decided to partner with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. Don and Nancy hope their fund will be able to impact others and honor Andy well into the future.
The “Be Nice.” campaign, through the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, looks to combat bullying and suicide, as well as bring mental health awareness to those that might not know or understand what it is. They look to decrease the stigma around mental illness, and also give others the tools to notice it in their fellow students, friends, or coworkers. N.I.C.E. is also an action plan to help others notice, invite, challenge, and empower those around them. The foundation want to make others aware of how words and actions can affect others.
The Be Nice. campaign is already at work in several schools and businesses in West Michigan, and will soon include Kent County schools. Ron Caniff, superintendent of Kent Intermediate School District, is eager to get the program running with help from the Lubbers’ fund.
Many students in middle and high school will be faced with mental illness and bullying, whether themselves or through friends. Caniff hopes to combat this through offering the be nice. program to staff and students.