HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Three months after the deadly shooting at STEM School in Highlands Ranch a local non-profit is making sure they feel hope after tragedy.
A Highlands Ranch mom brought the organization calledStars of Hope to the community on Saturday where dozens of volunteers painted bright colored stars to welcome STEM students back to school next month.
"Give them a warm welcome when they come back to school this year," said organizer and local mom Dian Barnum. "I thought these stars would be a great way to welcome them into an uncomfortable situation."
They plan to place the stars at multiple entrances and hallways as some students get ready to face a tough transition back to school.
"I know it's going to be hard going back to school, but a great day at the same time to everybody together again," said STEM parent and PTO President, Susan Montgomery.
"My star says hope starts with believing," said 11-year-old Christine Knutson. "Believing helps you shine bright, and that's why if you believe in yourself, you can shine bright, so that's why I made it yellow."
For Montgomery, she said the event at Mountain View Church is what #StemStrong is all about.
"It's been a really powerful, t-shirt, and symbol to have throughout the summer and people have been traveling with their #StemStrong bracelets all over the world," she said.
Barnum came up with the idea of bringing Stars of Hope to Highlands Ranch after seeing the stars bring joy to those dealing with tragedy after the tornado hit in Joplin, Missouri.
"All you saw was devastation, but every once in a while, you'd see one of these brightly colored stars," said Barnum.
Soon those bright colored stars will line the halls of STEM School and shine a little light on students as they go back to school for the first time next month.
"We want to make sure we're giving them encouragement, hope, and letting them know they're not alone, they're not forgotten," said Barnum.
Stars of HOPE says it is the world's largest and fastest-growing healing arts program. A unique disaster response and community arts program empowering people to transform communities impacted by natural and human-caused disasters by creating and displaying colorful art and messages of hope and healing.
Those interested in bringing hope to their communities after tragedy can order a box of HOPE online, and they will deliver a box of stars.