Help to spread the ‘tootles’

The Madison County Department of Family and Children wants the community to help “spread the tootles.” Tootles are notes of praise for people doing good for others and themselves.
The Madison County Department of Family and Children wants the community to help “spread the tootles.” Tootles are notes of praise for people doing good for others and themselves.

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

With any luck, “tootle” will become part of Madison Countians’ vocabulary.

What’s a tootle? It’s the opposite of a tattle. It’s a written note of praise that shouts the good that people do for others and themselves. It’s the focal point of a campaign the Madison County Department of Family and Children is rolling out to the community this spring.

“Research shows that praise and positive reinforcement impacts self confidence and productivity,” said Lori Thomas, prevention education coordinator.

“We want to emphasize the positive things going on in the county,” said Sherry Baldwin, Family Council coordinator.

Thomas and Baldwin invite civic and government leaders and interested members of the community to learn more at a training set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 20 at the Department of Job and Family Services, 200 Midway St. (State Route 38), London. Lunch will be provided. To RSVP, contact Baldwin at (740) 852-5343 or sbaldwin@co.madison.oh.us by March 14.

At the training, organizers will seek input from participants on how to “spread the tootles,” including ideas for distribution of tootle forms and where and how to display them for others to see.

Anyone can fill out a tootle for someone doing good in the county. Praiseworthy actions include everything from hard work and conflict resolution to beautification through music, art or writing.

“Someone could write a tootle thanking the EMS for the help they provided in an auto accident or thank the senior center for the care they provide in their Adult Day Care Center. Maybe somebody helped you shovel your driveway this winter, and you want to thank them publically,” Baldwin said.

The point of tootles is to foster a nurturing environment. Thanking others in this way has been shown to decrease violence, anxiety and crime and increase school and work attendance, academic achievement, job satisfaction and healthy family relationships.

Tootles are part of a program called PAX, presented in partnership with the Mental Health Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties and Wright State University. PAX is Latin for peace, productivity, health and happiness.

Madison County first introduced PAX at the school level in 2012-13. It comes in two parts: tootles and the Good Behavior Game. The Good Behavior Game equips teachers with strategies for classroom management based on brain science. Tootles encourage students to find the good in each other, rather than tattle, making for a more positive classroom environment.

 “Now, we want to introduce this concept to the community as a whole,” Baldwin said. “The goal is to have volunteers take it over so that it becomes an ongoing community effort.”

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