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The power of hope in the wake of tragedy
New York Says Thank You’s flagship program is Stars of HOPE (SOH), a program that lies at the intersection of disaster recovery, art, and mental health.
SOH embodies NYSTY’s founding ‘pay it forward’ model by providing a path to healing designed by survivors for survivors.
SOH’s team of qualified art therapists guides survivors’ resiliency by holding a safe space for communities to process their trauma while empowering one another to recover together by creating a “Star of HOPE.” These one-foot wooden Stars serve as a canvas for survivors to create colorful art and healing messages for other communities recovering from human-made or natural disasters.
Turning tragedy into hope
I am so grateful that the stars hanging from the fence surrounding the IRC compelled me to pull over and investigate more. It was humbling to see the love, support and hope sent from around the country and know that we are not alone in the journey of healing. As I continue to say, the symbolism of these Stars of HOPE surrounding that awful place is so powerful.
Stars of Hope gave us a wonderful experience. What a great event to reach out, make this world a better place, and just say that you care! The workshop they led at our annual corporate meeting provided an opportunity for AEM employees to express creativity, share stories, and create new bonds. When team members shared how they had created their stars, they generated conversations about little ways we could each show that we care. Some colleagues shared tough stories about times they had been faced with difficulties and how a small gesture such as a star could really brighten their day. Keep shining Stars of Hope, you are a beacon of caring and kindness!
As a mother of two girls I want them to grow up strong, to be part of something important, and to know you can and should make a difference in someone else’s life. A very bad thing happened to our family and this is a way for us to give back to another community struggling for normalcy. It’s our way to Pay It Forward.
I created my star because I wanted people to know that even in the darkest places, you'll always find light. You can't be truly unstoppable until you have been stopped. I feel good that I was able to give people hope, even when they are in their darkest time and to let them know that they are unstoppable.
I remember the first day I saw the stars that were put up on all the telephone poles around my neighborhood. It gave me such a great, uplifting feeling to have someone do that for me and my neighbors. I just found your group and wanted to drop by and just say Thank You! You gave not only me, but many of my neighbors something in a true time of need that really can't be described. It was and is truly awesome. Thank You again.
Reminded me of my faith. How strong it became after I received the star. It made me feel less isolated and comforted that others understood my sadness, my lack of everything I held dear to me. It felt empowering that others understood my pain and wanted me to know I could still hope.
help support healing art
become a program sponsor
Your support ensures that our program is entirely free to survivors of tragedy, and gives the tools to aid emotional recovery. Your contribution doesn’t just help us provide resources; it supports peer supporters and licensed professionals to show up where and when it matters most. It helps provide long-term healing art workshops and peer support training to our compassionate survivors.
We have plenty of options and levels of support that are much needed. Like HOPE itself, every bit of support counts.