November 15, 2018
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In times of tragedy, this nonprofit sends small bundles of hope to grieving communities

After the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, a New York fourth-grader and his congregation came together to create Stars of HOPE to send a little love and kindness to a community in grieving.

Wooden stars decorated by children offer messages of hope and peace for communities that are grieving, like this one in the Maryland neighborhood where a gunman opened fire in the offices of the Annapolis Capitol Gazette in July. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A couple of weeks ago, the day after the devastation in Pittsburgh where 11 innocent people were killed, I went to my synagogue. The synagogue was having Mitzvah Day, where you do activities to help other people including making lunches for families in need.

One of the activities was to paint wooden stars with designs and messages of hope to be delivered to Pittsburgh and placed on trees, fences, and around the synagogue where the attack happened. I was lucky enough to meet Jeff Parness who founded Stars of Hope. His organization works with people young and old who paint stars to be delivered all over the world to bring a little hope and cheer when bad things happen. This includes places where natural disasters, like hurricanes and wildfires, and also shootings that have happened way too much.

After we all finished painting our stars, Jeff put them in his car that day and drove to Pittsburgh with his mom. They put the stars up around the Tree of Life Congregation.

Instead of feeling scared or sad, I was able to send positive thoughts and messages to the people of Pittsburgh who really needed it that day.

New York fourth grader Henry Adelson painted Stars of HOPE at his local synagogue that were sent to the congregation in Pittsburgh that had just suffered a mass shooting.

This experience was meaningful to me because it felt good to let the Pittsburgh community know that lots of people care about them and stand with them. It also gave me something hopeful to do that day. Instead of feeling scared or sad, I was able to send positive thoughts and messages to the people of Pittsburgh who really needed it that day.

I’m so glad I met Jeff and got to learn about Stars of HOPE. As a kid you might think it’s hard to change someone’s life and help them get through a tough time, especially if you don’t even know them. But no matter your age, you can always do something good for other people to let them know you care.

Learn how you can order a Box of HOPE and create your own Stars of HOPE for others.

Henry Adelson

Henry Adelson is a fourth grader in New York City. He is also a proud volunteer with Trash Hero New York.