SPARK, a program put in place by Hope Worldwide to assist children in healing from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane that caused comprehensive damage including massive flooding. This caused many to lose homes, personal items and a sense of safety.
During Sparks’s opening ceremony on April 6th, 2019 at Bear Creek Elementary School students and their families came together to create Stars of HOPE. During this event, 56 messages of hope and healing were created. SPARK also introduced Stars of HOPE at Sam Houston Elementary empowering 45 students and their families to create HOPE.
The stars were sponsored by the Ann Nelson Fund through Stars of HOPE and the New York Says Thank You Foundation. Ann lost her life during the events of 9/11 and her passion was volunteering with children, this was explained to the children and along with painting their stars allowed them to open up about their losses related to Hurricane Harvey.
“The painting of Stars of HOPE created an avenue where the children were able to talk about their experiences with Hurricane Harvey on the first day of the session when typically it takes 3 to 4 weeks for children to begin to open up”.Maria Rollins, Senior Project Manager for Spark
The children connected to their Stars of HOPE and were hung in each of the schools for everyone to see. In an impact study conducted by Florida State University, it was found that 84% of respondents who witnessed a Star of HOPE in their community post-tragedy felt “hopeful” and “supported” (see full impact study https://starsofhopeusa.org/impact/)
“The children would walk through the halls and point out their star, this inspired the Principle to want to keep the Stars at the school as a permanent installation.”Maria Rollins, Senior Project Manager for Spark
Spark and Stars of HOPE are looking forward to collaborating again for a larger community event in August, the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey. If you would like to volunteer for this project contact email@example.com and if you would like to donate to support the project visit us at https://starsofhopeusa.org/donate/.
Stars of HOPE® is focusing on mental health and resiliency of communities impacted by human-caused tragedy while strengthening compassion and empathy in future generations with healing art. Today, with the help of over 90,000 volunteers, Stars of HOPE have transformed 220 communities in 26 countries impacted by disaster and tragedy. Thank you to our National Community Sponsor KPMG, LLP. Stars of HOPE® is a registered trademark of New York Says Thank You Foundation.
THE ANN NICOLE NELSON MEMORIAL FUND
The purpose of the Ann Nicole Nelson Memorial Fund within the New York Says Thank You Foundation is to continue to keep Ann’s memory alive and connect Ann’s legacy to meaningful service projects involving youth and community that continue to create hope and healing in the United States and throughout the world. The Ann Nicole Nelson Memorial Fund will be used to support school-based, community-based, and youth-service organization based Stars of HOPE® projects.