The story behind 'On the Wings of Hope'

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When the Tournament of Roses announced the 2020 parade theme, “The Power of Hope”, I knew I had the perfect design idea for a float.

In 2012, at East Middle School, now Doty Middle School, I proposed an opportunity for the students to show compassion to those in need -- especially children. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. The crane is recognized as the bird of happiness and wisdom and also represents a form of healing and hope.

The thousand origami cranes were popularized through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during WWII. She developed leukemia and, inspired by the Japanese legend, began making origami cranes with the goal of making one thousand.

In the tradition of Sadako’s story, the students were able to involve themselves in a charitable experience by participating in the “Wings of Hope” program. They were each given an opportunity to purchase a paper crane for $1. In the form of a “gram”, each participant sent a message of hope or dedication to a friend or loved one on the wings of the crane. The goal was to collect a total of $1,000 and this would be donated to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

The cranes were strung on strings, hung on a crane tree, and eventually delivered along with the collected money to CLHA to “inspire hope in its patients so they will know their recovery is being wished.”

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More than two-thirds of the student population took part in the project, as well as staff and parents. Students attended crane-making classes and in the end, created a beautiful tree with hundreds of colorful origami cranes of all sizes.

The Wings of Hope project acted as a symbol of happiness, healing and hope. The cranes represented the words that are sometimes hard to say. It was a positive way to channel energy into something that made others happy.

To have had the opportunity to bring this idea to the Downey Rose Float Association was amazing. This will take a beautiful idea and offer it to the world!

As Laura Farber, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses president shared, “With hope, anything, in fact everything, is possible. Hope is more than simply the possibility of fulfillment. Hope is the dignity and respect, joy and happiness, aspiration and achievement. Hope never, ever quits. Through hope, we can aspire to be our best and in turn inspire those around us to reach higher.”

“On the Wings of Hope” will encompass this belief and share it with others in an astounding way!

News, FeaturesCarrie Redfox