[May 21, 2018| NEW YORK CITY] Stars of HOPE was proud to be welcomed back to San Bernadino, California’s Multicultural Festival hosted annually by Bing Wong Elementary.
One of the organizers and a history teacher at Bing Wong, Jade Smith, explained that Stars of HOPE has played a role in her curriculum this year and the Stars also inspired a unique way to honor a very special Holocaust survivor, who gave a face to otherwise flat pages of history.
David Weiner, a Holocaust survivor, “inspired” in Jade’s words, her class’ Holocaust unit and sponsored their trip to the Museum of Tolerance in Louisiana. “As a thank you, the students decorated paper Stars of Hope along with a reflection and thank you. We made a book of the letters for Mr. Wiener. We did a big Holocaust unit, read several books and did research. We talked about the symbolism of the Star, especially in regards to the Jewish religion and the Holocaust. We read a book called Star of Fear, Star of Hope that the students made a lot of connections with.”
The power of the Stars of HOPE program is truly in the connection aspect explained Josh Garcia, Director of Operations and Program Manager and added that the connection can look different for each person who experiences the program.
“Watching teenagers spend so much time and patience on these stars was inspiring,” explained Jade. “These Stars will certainly light up someone’s day and bring hope to many hearts in need!”
With Mr. Weiner’s involvement and generosity along with Jade’s passion and creativity in the classroom, this Stars of HOPE function was a learning event that made a lifetime impression on these students. “Our unit centered about tolerance, kindness, and helping those in need. We talked about being allies to those in need, not bystanders that do nothing.”
In fact, activists already, Jade’s students recently participated in a march against gun violence, where they discussed at-length how being kind to one another is the first step to stopping violence in schools. “Hopefully, the 120 students that have been part of our program this year can continue to spread the word and make a difference,” said Jade. And they are already proving they will. Jade’s class has requested that their Stars of HOPE be sent to the survivors and families from the Santa Fe High School shooting. “The students realized how Stars of Hope help them to be allies and do something to help others. It was a really fantastic unit that I hope to be able to do with future students!”
If you would like to organize a Stars of HOPE painting event in your community, school, youth group, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you! Contact Josh Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.