To supporters of NYSTY and our friends and family in HOPE,
Five years ago, Stars of HOPE was there for me on the worst day of my life. The star I received after the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando gave me renewed hope and reminded me that I was not alone in my grief.
Since then, it’s been my privilege to work with you and so many amazing people to carry forward Stars of HOPE’s mission to others who are in need of the same healing I received in Orlando. Together we’ve collected, packed, and shipped boxes of HOPE to communities around the globe. Together we’ve painted stars and brought them to individuals and communities in need. Together we’ve raised donations and shared the message. Together we’ve planned our organization’s future. Together we’ve turned tragedy into hope.
As I once wrote to myself after a sleepless night, and as we often say to each other—alone we feel, but together we heal.
I am so grateful to you, to the board, and in a very special way to my predecessor Jeff Parness. He founded NYSTY out of a child’s wish to help and his own desire to heal. Through the years, his creative spirit, boundless energy, and courage to believe have built the organization; it is now my privilege to lead. I have learned so much from him. Above all, I am grateful for bringing us all together. I wish him great adventures in his retirement and am grateful that I will be able to continue to count on his counsel and support as he serves on our board of directors.
As I take up my new responsibilities as executive director, I am filled with hope. What began in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks—the 9/12 spirit that Jeff has spoken about so eloquently—is the knowledge that we also heal ourselves when we help others heal. Long-term emotional recovery through community and creative arts is at the bedrock of our mission, and new initiatives are in the planning stage to take that mission to the next level. I look forward to sharing them with you in the months to come.
Most of all, I am grateful to you. Whether you see it or not, your actions touch the lives of people you may never meet. As I can attest, the simple knowledge that someone cares—even a stranger, especially a stranger—can save a life. I cannot wait to begin this next chapter with you. Your ideas, your heart, your energy—our collective “together”—are essential to our next great leap forward.