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ID Event Creates Right Conditions to Let Kites, Children Soar

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Organizers of Kites for Hope will be distributing free kites across the state on Friday

Families are flying kites in Idaho Friday to lift each other up during Mental Health Awareness Month.

Organizations are holding "Kites for Hope" to promote the influence of positive experiences on children's development into resilient adults.

Jean Fitzgerald-Mutchie, community health manager for St. Luke's Health System, said the kites are symbolic because when conditions are right, they soar.

"And when the conditions are just right in our communities and families for kids, our kids can soar," Fitzgerald-Mutchie asserted. "So we thought that the kites gave an opportunity for adults to connect with children around something fun and give them engagement with somebody who's showing them that they matter."

The Idaho Resilience Project and health-care organization Optum Idaho are behind Kites for Hope. They'll be distributing free kites around the state, including in Coeur d'Alene, Lewiston and Twin Falls. Gov. Brad Little has proclaimed Friday Hope Day.

Fitzgerald-Mutchie noted "HOPE" in this case is an acronym for healthy outcomes from positive experiences, stating they can be antidotes for adverse experiences in children's lives, and there are simple ways people can set them up.

She pointed out people can give children a safe, stable environment to learn and play, and help them understand how they fit into a social circle and family.

"And then, do they have somebody that they can reach out to when they need to deal with big feelings, or they just need some support when they're feeling adversity?" Fitzgerald-Mutchie asked. "So how do we really start to create some healthy coping skills for these kids?"

She emphasized Kites for Hope will be a way for people to reconnect.

"We want to acknowledge that it has just been a really difficult year across the board for pretty much everybody, and so to really have this school year end on this really hopeful and fun note was really important to us," Fitzgerald-Mutchie remarked.

She added folks are promoting the event with the hashtag "#HopeLivesHere" on social media.