Stars of HOPE Bring More than Color to Orlando’s CommUNITY Rainbow Run

New York Says Thank You Foundation’s Founder and Executive Director Jeff Parness with Orlando resident and Stars of HOPE’s Director of Operations & Programs Josh Garcia and daughter Lennon, holding a Star that has what has become the organization’s new slogan, ‘Together we heal.’ The group estimates that 500 people stopped by their tent during Saturday's onePulse CommUNITY Rainbow Run.


[NEW YORK CITY | JUNE 11] “Alone we feel… together we heal,” was Pulse nightclub Josh Garcia’s first thought as he began emerging from a cocoon of grief and depression following the senseless act of hate. Now, as Stars of HOPE’s Director of Operations and Programs, Josh Garcia, credits the powerful Stars he received for being an integral component of helping him heal.

Josh is part of a growing Stars network who have all found the healing in a global ‘pay it forward’ service movement that transforms tragedy into hope, one star at a time.

The Stars of HOPE staff, along with SOH Ambassador and Orlando resident Elsie Rosado were honored to be part of Saturday’s CommUNITY Rainbow Run for the second year in a row. “It was a beautiful day, beautiful weather, and beautiful people,” said Rosado, who estimated almost 500 people stopped by their booth to paint a Star or to learn more about their mission.

Rosado lost her daughter, Maria, in the NYC terror attacks and found healing through volunteering through the New York Says Thank You Foundation, who administers the Stars of HOPE Program. “They gave me a sense of purpose,” as Rosado expressed losing the will to move on, despite everyone’s constant advice to ‘just move on.’

“As much as I love my family, everybody moves on. Life goes on. But, for me, I stayed stuck on that day,” until she volunteered with NYSTY during Hurricane Sandy. Rosado credited the human connection the Stars enable for emerging people from their grief.

Stars of HOPE Ambassador Elsie Rosado with Jen Hall from KPMG Orlando, a Stars of HOPE global community sponsor, during Saturday’s onePULSE CommUNITY Rainbow Run.

Rosado was recognized by one of the medical staff of the pet therapy program at Orlando Regional Medical Center whom she had delivered Stars to following the Pulse nightclub shooting, “She told me she had a picture of me and her with the Stars hanging in her office!”

“It was an honor to be with the Orlando community and to be part of their continued healing from the Pulse tragedy two years ago,” stated Jeff Parness, Founder and Executive Director of New York Says Thank You Foundation. “The Stars of HOPE are a beautiful way to bring people together to strengthen our resolve, to cry, to laugh, to hug, and to remind people they are not alone nor forgotten.”


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