PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (May 11, 2021) – Attitudes In Reverse® (AIR℠), a Princeton-based nonprofit, will host its annual Miki & Friends OPEN AIR℠ event on May 22, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the pavilion in West Windsor Community Park, Bernt Midland Blvd. (Hightstown Road/Route 571 near West Windsor Water Works), West Windsor, New Jersey.
“The pandemic has led to exacerbation of depression and anxiety in individuals who have mental health disorders,” said Tricia Baker, who established AIR℠ with her husband Kurt and daughter Katelyn after losing their son/brother to suicide following a long battle against severe depression and anxiety. “Since the start of the lockdown, 25% of all 18- to 25-year-olds have thought seriously about suicide, up from 11%.”
In recognition of COVID-19 concerns, the event will follow social distancing and other public health guidelines. There will still be several family-friendly activities including the walk, music, vendors, Blessing of the Animals, a Butterfly Release Ceremony, AKC Canine Good Citizen Testing and raffle.
AIR℠ will continue the annual tradition of a butterfly release ceremony to honor loved ones who have passed away. “This is a beautiful, touching ceremony that means a lot to our family, not
only to honor the memory of our son Kenny, but also to bond with others who have lost loved ones too soon,” Tricia said.
Throughout the year, AIR presents educational programs for students in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, as well as parents and teachers. Since the start of the pandemic, AIR has delivered presentations and hosted visits with AIR Therapy Dogs on virtual platforms to ensure their message is still received.
“AIR's educational programs, whether online or in person, have encouraged many students to express their feelings, which opens up opportunities for caring adults to connect them to appropriate services when needed,” she said.
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In addition to having bagpipe music by Graham Kronk, the reciting of a poem and the release of butterflies during the event, there will be a tent displaying photos of departed loved ones and names will be announced during the ceremony. Attendees are invited to send photos of their loved ones by May 14. A donation is appreciated.
Event Also Features 5K Walk and Live Music and Book Signing
The event will also feature a 5K walk with social distancing guidelines in place and live musical performances by New Jersey teens KD’s Music, Kyler St. Phard and students from Fusion Academy of Princeton. Author Laura Vaisman will be signing copies of her book Penny Panic. A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to AIR.
Registration to participate in the event and to have loved ones honored during the butterfly release ceremony is available at www.walkforair.org.
This event is sponsored by the law firms of Stark & Stark and Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, P.C.; PerformCare New Jersey, a full-service behavioral health managed care company, supporting members in the public sector; Be the Li9ht, a nonprofit that share’s AIR’s mission Princeton Brain and Spine; Hot Topic; Oaks Integrated Care; Certified Wealth Mortgage and Investment, Liberty Martial Arts, and Iggy Bragg Design, Ltd.
Other supporters and donors include, EASEL Animal Rescue League, Home Care Vets and VCA Twin Rivers Animal Hospital, West Windsor Police Department, 20 Paws, Knights of Columbus, Lightning Lacrosse, Mid-Atlantic K-9, AIR Club at West Windsor Plainsboro High School South and Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity.