Students fly “ Kites for Hope ”
On a hot Friday afternoon, students at Sandpoint High School head to the South Lawn to fly kites with their friends.
Students string lines through plastic kites, some featuring the faces of Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen,” or superheroes, or Barbie from Mattel. Then they run further into the field with the kites trailing, occasionally turning around to watch it run.
The event, dubbed “Kites for Hope”, was first presented to students by Tavi Brandenburg, one of the SHS advisors. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and with it, area schools, including SHS and some elementary schools, have been working to facilitate more mental health programs.
While the connection between kites and mental health may not be immediately obvious, Baxter Pollard, president of the Associated Student Body, said what attracted her to the idea was how it created an activity for the students to take care of their own mental well-being.
“Sometimes mental health doesn’t have to talk about it,” she says. “It could just be doing something healthy for you and your mind and something easy and fun. And I feel like it is.
Over the past year, educators have spoken repeatedly at school board meetings and the impact of the pandemic on student mental health. Education has been disrupted, as has the social life of students.
For many students, isolation gave them more time to think about their problems and have to deal with them on their own.
“People really have to think about themselves. And I think it can spark a lot of feelings and emotions that you usually would never come across, because you usually do your daily things, ”she said. “So I want to go out and see people in the outdoors and just do something is really important.”
His bond with other students, Pollard said, helped improve the past year, despite meeting limitations for much of the year. Among those students she befriended was first year secretary / treasurer Livia Owens.
“I would never have met her this year without the student council,” Pollard said. “I love being with her. So I think this idea of friendship, of meeting people that you would never have met, being there for them and having a fun relationship is really important. “
Other district schools, including Farmin-Stidwell Elementary School, also participated.
Ellen Wassif, a counselor at Farmin, said the school has around 100 fourth and sixth graders.
The event was sponsored by the Idaho Resilience Project and Optum Idaho, who distributed a total of 7,000 kites to communities in Idaho for the project.
But “Kites for Hope” is only one aspect of the school’s efforts to promote mental health, Brandenburg said.
Currently, judges are working on submissions for the Bulldog Resilience Project, where students have submitted written, visual, performing and graphic arts demonstrating adaptability, resilience, kindness, growth and courage.
Six students will be selected for Rotary scholarships of $ 500, with prizes for finalists and a raffle for participants.
Beyond this project, students and teachers also participated in the ongoing efforts to have more conversations and a program focused on mental health care.
“I think we mostly see this as a fun opportunity [to start that conversation], “she said.” Our health teacher is reviewing the mental health program. Our student mentors have done other virtual campaigns and reminders on how to keep each other healthy. “