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Kind Hearts Project gives away 100 bikes to kids, promoting Mental Health Awareness Month

Dickinson Press - 6/20/2024

Jun. 20—DICKINSON — The Kind Hearts Project successfully gave away 100 bikes to local community children to raise awareness about mental health. The initiative encourages kids to put down their devices and enjoy the summer weather while keeping their minds and bodies active.

The bike giveaway event at Legacy Square in downtown Dickinson on Wednesday evening was a grand affair. Attendees enjoyed free hotdogs, hamburgers, bags of popcorn, and a special guest, alongside the bike distribution for children of all ages.

U.S. Congressman Kelly Armstrong assisted with the giveaway, drawing and reading out the raffle tickets. Children eagerly surrounded the congressman, hoping to hear their ticket numbers called. One child even helped him announce the winners.

The event attracted a large crowd of families and children. Among them was Janelle Stoneking, who was thrilled when both her daughter and son's raffle numbers were called.

"I am just so grateful that our community supports our children and gets them active outside and enjoying summer," Stoneking said. "And my kids are both blessed to have won a bike today."

Local businesses and entities substantially supported the Kind Hearts Project Bike Giveaway. The Dickinson Fire Department hosted a game where kids could carry a real-life fire hose, and the Dickinson High School softball team organized games, handing out candy and medals for the children.

Community leaders Shirley Dukart and Irene Schafer volunteered at the event, alongside the Stark County Sheriff's Department and the Marsh family, who assisted with the raffle registry. Gate City Bank Dickinson also contributed by preparing the bikes and bicycle helmets and handing out cookies, just like at their Sims Street location.

"It is all about getting kids away from video games and negative activities that seem so rampant and encouraging them to do something positive," Stark County Sheriff Corey Lee said. "This is obviously a positive event with a lot of first responders, and it promotes the sustained interaction we always talk about between law enforcement or fire departments and the youth."

Kind Hearts Project founder Marriah Marsh emphasized the importance of the event for their mission, particularly in promoting limited screen time during the summer months.

"We are really proud of this event," Marsh said. "We believe it's important for people to improve their mental health through simple activities. Just small things like jumping rope, getting outside, laughing, smiling, and riding bikes. That's exactly why we are giving bikes away today."

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