Star Angels? It’s a thing!

Small, individually-painted wooden stars have been left around Glen Ellen in burned driveways, on mailboxes, in the grey ashes of what was once a home. On each colorful star, somebody – a stranger – painted a single word: “HOPE.” On the back is scrawled the name and age of a child – “Jorge aged 9”, “Jenny aged 11” – and sometimes a short message of cheer.

It seems to have started after 9/11. A conglomeration of New Yorkers formed a New York Says Thank You Foundation. This group gave encouraging stars to a family of Groesbeck, Texas, after a tornado. Later, the Texas family helped children in Greensburg, Kansas, give inspiration to their neighbors when yet another tornado hit in Kansas, “helping to transform the physical and emotional landscape of Greensburg overnight.”

Since then, according to their website, Stars of Hope have lifted the spirits of millions of disaster survivors in 24 countries from Breezy Point, New York, to Kathmandu, Nepal, and elsewhere. We can add Glen Ellen to that list.

Where did Glen Ellen’s stars come from? Sweet Dunbar kids? Faithful synagogue or church children? Loyal Scouts? Who is behind it? Who can we thank? Maybe it’s best not to know but rather to accept the sentiment, let it lift you, and pass it on. We’ll just say it’s a thoughtful gift from the Star Angels.

There’s something about unsolicited, genuine good will, asking nothing in return, that touches the human heart. Many of these gestures have emerged after the fires. One example is the Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood which has stepped up to help. Of the $70,000 they have raised to help repair our communities, $40,000 is earmarked for our little Dunbar School.

In early March, interested parties will meet and assign this money to Dunbar projects – new play structure, school garden, landscaping. Hopefully the beautiful outdoor stage will rise from the ashes and be rebuilt thanks to these Rotary funds and others. A community stage re-build day is being organized, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we’re looking for opportunities to give a Star of Hope to a stranger who needs it.