Sandy Leaves Rockaway Seeing Stars
You may have noticed one or many of the star-shaped pieces of wood on your block, some with short poems, inspirational sayings, or single words of encouragement. Many include intricate color designs, while others are one solid color. Some messages, including "stay strong", "hope" and "faith" are common, but a few are much longer.
"When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show one thousand reasons to smile" is hand painted on one star on Beach 125 Street.
Most of these have been put up as part of the "Stars of Hope" project, which began in Kansas in 2007. After a devastating tornado in Greensburg, children from that area began making stars with words of encouragement to post in their neighborhood. The program continued in Galveston, Texas, in late 2008 after Hurricane Ike caused severe damage there.
Kathleen McCarthy, who coordinates the local Stars project told the Daily News last week that the stars "are a way to brighten up a community and give them back a sense of hope and inspiration."
Many of the stars in Rockaway have the words "Ellijay.ga" on the reverse side, which is the web site for the town of Ellijay, Georgia, and these stars originated there. Residents decorated more than one thousand stars and posted them throughout hard hit areas of Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens.
Program participants say that more stars are being decorated in other parts of the country to eventually be delivered to the northeast.