HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) - It's been nearly three months since two students opened fire at the STEM School Highlands Ranch. As students prepare to return to school, the community is coming together to help each other as they continue to heal.
Saturday one Highlands Ranch woman decided she needed to do something to help those hurting remember they are loved.
Dina Barnum was in Joplin, Missouri just days after a tornado devastated their community, when she saw an art project she really liked. Stars of Hope had hung painted wooden stars around town to lift spirits.
"Seeing those stars was kind of like a breath of fresh air," she said. "It just kind of stuck in the back of my head."
Then just a few months ago, tragedy struck her own community. Shots rang out STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7. Dina really felt for the parents, teachers and students.
"I just wanted to hug them," she said.
That's when she remembered those stars in Missouri and thought the STEM School students and staff might like to know that the larger community has their back.
"For me it's like a visual hug. I don't know how else to explain it."
Saturday people from all over came out to Highlands Ranch to supply those visual hugs in their own unique way. Dina describes the art work people put on their stars.
"STEM strong of course is one of them. Hope. Love. There's a Kendrick (Castillo) one that somebody did. Just colorful. Just a bright welcoming warm feeling."
The stars will be hung inside the school to welcome students and staff back this upcoming semester. STEM School Highlands Ranch CO-PTO President Susan Montgomery says she knows the kids and staff will appreciate the outpouring of support.
"I think they are going to be very surprised and also happy," she said.
Dina knows how much the little things can lift people up in times of need.
"It's heartwarming to see that and know that someone took their time to put some love and effort into brightening their day."
Stars of Hope does have an online community where you can order a star and send it to a hurting community. You can add your star to the STEM School project.
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