Stars of HOPE®USA Releases Impact Study with Florida State University

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Stars of HOPE®USA, a unique disaster relief and community arts program, together with experts at Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice have released a study that examines the impact of Stars of HOPE on the emotional recovery of individuals who have survived a natural disaster or traumatic event.

“We are extremely excited to share the findings of this study to show the healing impact that Stars of HOPE has had on communities recovering from catastrophic disaster,” said Jeff Parness, founder and executive director of New York Says Thank You Foundation/Stars of HOPE program.

The qualitative study measures the impact of seeing Stars of HOPE in the community, receiving or creating a Star of HOPE in the wake of a catastrophic act of nature of human-caused tragedy. Researchers surveyed survivors of a human-caused tragedy, such as the mass shootings in San Bernardino, CA (2015) and Orlando, Florida (2016), and a natural disaster such as the EF-5 tornado in Greensburg, KS (2007) and wildfires in Santa Rosa, CA (2015). 

Overall, 100 percent of respondents agreed that Stars of HOPE positively impacts people’s lives, helps communities recover emotionally from disaster and helps people recover from tragedy.

You can download the full study here, but highlights include:

  • 84 percent of respondents who witnessed a Star of HOPE in their community post-tragedy felt “hopeful” and “supported”
  • 81 percent of respondents who received a Star of HOPE post-tragedy felt “connected to others”
  • Overall, 95 percent of people felt “grateful”, 93 percent felt “less alone”, 93 percent felt “valued”, 92 percent felt “less sad”, 92 percent felt “optimistic, 80 percent felt “confident”, 73 percent felt “calm” and 63% felt “less anxious” because they experienced Stars of HOPE

Since 2007, Stars of HOPE has reached 220 communities and 26 countries recovering from catastrophic acts of nature and historic human-caused tragedy. What seems like a simple project, has fostered unique, peer-to-peer support between individuals and communities recovering from tragedy through a “pay-it-forward” dynamic.

By “crowdsourcing compassion” and by creating mass human connection through hand-painted art and expressions of encouragement, Stars of HOPE combats the loneliness which triggers long-term negative mental health and physical health impacts post-trauma.

“Our mission is to spread exponential hope and healing and this report shows that by leveraging compassion, creativity, connection, and the power of art, Stars of HOPE is making a lasting impact on the emotional recovery of survivors and communities,” added Parness.


Josh Garcia

Josh Garcia

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About Stars of HOPE

In response to tragedies such as mass violence and natural disasters, we use art-making in the form of a star to give hope, show compassion, and promote healing.

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