In 1980, astronomer Carl Sagan suggested in the award-winning TV series Cosmos that “the cosmos is also within us – we’re made of star stuff.” He was trying to explain that we’re all the product of an amazing domino theory that began at the core of ancient stars, and eventually produced all the elements that came together to form the earth and all things within it.
Stars have been a source of wonder and amazement since the beginning of time, serving as a guiding light, a beacon of hope, and the focal point of thousands of wishes. But Sagan gave new life to the hypothesis that stars physically connect human beings to one other.
Today, stars link us in a much more tangible and simple way. Stars of HOPE are all around us, bringing together people who want to bring hope and healing to those touched by tragedy. Those Stars of HOPE® are actually the product of a unique disaster relief and community arts project that empowers children and families to transform communities impacted by natural and man-made disasters. Through colorful art and messages of hope and healing, Stars of HOPE has lifted the spirits of millions of people around the world. And today, Stars of HOPE is reaching out to the victims of the recent bombing attack in Manchester, England.
Stars of HOPE are one-foot wooden stars decorated by children, students, families and other organizations who paint the stars with personal notes of inspiration and send them to unique recipients in a community in need of hope. The brainchild of two families whose communities were impacted by disasters – one in New York following 9/11, and one in Texas following a deadly tornado – Stars of HOPE has transformed 150 communities and 24 countries impacted by devastating acts of nature and tragic acts of violence.
For the Manchester community, Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) partnered with Bodine High School of International Affairs in Philadelphia to decorate and deliver 115 stars of hope and healing. These stars were combined with hundreds of other stars decorated by residents of the Orlando area on the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub attack. All total, more than 800 Stars were delivered by Dr. Liz Royle, a leading trauma recovery specialist who is working to engage the Manchester community in this uplifting project.
Using Stars of HOPE's Boxes of Hope (boxes containing all the supplies needed to make 15 stars), the Bodine students customized their stars with inspiring messages. Since it was part of Bodine High School for International Affairs’ International Day, Sungard AS explained how the company protects its customers during times of disaster. Through these conversations, students learned how to combine their curiosity about technology with their interest in global citizenship to touch fellow students in the midst of a tragedy.
The stars began appearing around the Manchester area on July 1, and the local community will be engaged in participating in this arts project in the coming weeks.
While no one can ever fully mend the wounds left by a disaster or tragedy, the light of a thousand stars can at least brighten the path forward. For more information on Stars of HOPE, click here.