FAIRFIELD, NJ — Inspired by the children of Spain and Italy, communities across the United States, including Fairfield, are posting artwork in the form of rainbows in their windows as a way of spreading hope and connecting with each other during the global health crisis.
In order to participate in the "Rainbows of Hope" project, Fairfield school counselors Sarah Kirk and Erika Pilato encouraged students to draw a rainbow on a piece of paper to be placed in a window of their homes or to use washable paint to make a burst of color directly on the glass.
"This way, everyone in the community can spot the rainbows during their walks—like a neighborhood I spy' game," said the counselors, who also encouraged families to share photos of their artwork using the hashtags #itwillbeok and #rainbowofhope.
Since hearing about the efforts of local schoolchildren, other community members and organizations have also followed suit, including the Fairfield Police Department, Fairfield Town Hall and the Fairfield Public Library.
Officer Stacy Chiarolanza explained that Kirk had reached out the the department about the project since the officers have always worked with the students as part of the Fairfield Municipal Alliance Committee.
"I know I was driving around today at work, and saw so many rainbows in windows," she said. "They are all over town and really easy to see. It's really amazing to see them all. I know the Fairfield Public Library had a great idea to use coffee filters and tie dye them for a different spin on the rainbows."
The police department has partnered with Anthony DeVincenzo, owner of Artistic Signs in Fairfield, to display "Rainbows of Hope" window decals both at police headquarters and on all Fairfield police vehicles.
DeVincenzo offered to take his support of the project a step further by donating rainbow decals with the hashtag #rainbowsofhope to members of the Fairfield community to display on the windows of their vehicles or their homes.
Fairfield mother Adriana Marino said she and her 7-year-old daughter, Isabel, saw several rainbows displayed at their neighbors' homes after hanging up their own.
"We loved seeing them and admiring their differences," said Marino.
Fellow mother Elissa Parillo said that her daughters, Isla, 4, and Sophia, 9, had fun collaborating on their rainbow project. Despite being apart from her friends and other family members, Sophia said that seeing the bright colors throughout the town makes it feel like she and my friends and family are doing something together.
"It brightens our days," said Sophia, whose 4-year-old sister agreed that it makes her smile to see so many rainbows when the family drives through town.
Jill Totka's daughters, Madison, 5, and Kylie, 9, also loved working together to spread the word of hope. Their own rainbow currently hangs in the family's front window for all to see.
"It really brightened our day to work on this project, and our older neighbors walking by commented how great it was that the kids were doing these kinds of projects," said Totka, whose 5-year-old niece, Norah, is also enjoying the thought of sending messages of love to her friends. "Now she is enjoying as people pass by and seeing the smiles."
Portia Oliva also said the project offered a unique opportunity for her three kids to come together, adding that they "were so proud" of what the creat and have been having fun searching for rainbows during family walks.
Erica Santalla, reading specialist at Fairfield Public Schools, shared that the "Rainbows of Hope" project has taught her own 5-year-old son, Greyson, how times of crisis often bring communities like Fairfield together.