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Volunteers Use Hope to Combat Hate-Filled Messages Left on Foresthill Bridge

AUBURN -- The Placer County Sheriff's Office is investigating after several hate-filled messages were written on the Foresthill Bridge.

Someone wrote hate-filled messages on the Foresthill Bridge. (Photo by Notes of Hope)

Volunteers with Notes of Hope, a campaign aimed at gathering handwritten messages and placing them on the bridge to help discourage suicide attempts, found the writing on Sunday.

With paper, zip ties and words of hope, 10-year-old Leela Domenici is joining volunteers across Auburn, fastening roughly 2,500 notes on Foresthill Bridge over the last month.

"I wrote, 'There are so many good things in store, do not let the bad things ruin it," Leela said.

They spread messages of love on a bridge where 87 people have committed suicide.

"Well I know they’re helping people because I’ve put my personal number on a few of them," said volunteer Christian Kouto. "And two people that actually came to this bridge to commit suicide saw my note, called me, we talked and they’re still alive today."

It’s a cause dear to Kouto, who lost a friend to suicide just two months ago. That's made it hard for him to figure out why someone would come to the bridge, tear down hundreds of his notes and scribble hateful graffiti.

"The people that did it have probably never lost someone to suicide," Kouto said.

(Photo by Notes of Hope)

Sunday night, he found words like "I hate you," "no one cares" and "scum" scribbled on the railing of the bridge.

"If somebody comes out here contemplating taking their own life and they see just horrible graffiti telling them to jump and stuff, that’s not going to help," Kouto said.

Kouto and his friends went to work painting over the hurtful messages and replacing the stolen notes.

"For every note that gets taken down, we’ll put two up," Kouto said. "We’re not going to let hate win. Hope is going to prevail on this bridge."

Community members like Leela are ready to help. She’s pledging to write 1,000 more notes.

"We are going to use all thousand zip ties to try and put up all the best notes that we can," she said.

Kouto says the hate has really just inspired them to work even harder and get more notes out on the bridge.

If you or a loved one are dealing with depression and need help, there is always someone to talk to. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is staffed 24 hours each day. You can call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone any day of the week.