Project Hope has its Heart in the Right Place!

Locals have joined in one mom’s bid to share positive messages on paper hearts.

Paper hearts signifying kindness in the community

(S.L Sakharova /

In Brookline, a small town in Massachusetts forming part of Boston’s metropolitan area, a mom of three had an idea. Petra Bignami decided that as the Pandemic has been hard on everyone around her, she would launch a positivity-infused local project to bring a smile to the faces of her kids and her community members, and encourage a feeling of togetherness.

A real grassroots endeavor 
Flashy bells and whistles were never part of the plan! Instead, the family set up a tin with simple paper hearts in various pastel shades and markers, by a fence outside their home, and encouraged passersby to share the love by adding their own message on a heart of their own. 

The family have since been laminating the messages before displaying them to make them weather-proof and lasting for all to enjoy, reminding everyone that there are sunnier days ahead.

This young mom explained her motivation to 13NewsNow: “ We really wanted to feel connected, we were feeling disconnected from our community and this made us feel that we were part of a bigger group. It’s really just helping people, I think, to get through the darkness of the Pandemic.”

A community-minded mom who cares…
Bignami is definitely a community-minded individual. She was elected to serve her town community constituents earlier this year. She’s also a school council member. 

And as her website details, she has accrued 20 years of professional experience in consulting for endowments and foundations in areas like planning, sustainable spending, and team development. She also has stellar academic qualifications in international law and management. 

An initiative that Brookline residents heart!
Despite her son’s conviction that his mother’s project would never take off, Bignami and her family have been pleasantly surprised that they’ve now passed their one-thousandth heart milestone.

Each day since the initiative launched last fall, neighbors and passersby have been adding a smorgasbord of words of encouragement, inspiration, and sometimes just random thoughts, all sharing a positive vibe.

The messages of hope include “Keep Calm and RISE ABOVE”, “This too shall pass. Meanwhile… SMILE XO”, “Thank you for spreading joy” and “Be kind to others  — we don’t know what difficulties they have”.

And locals interviewed are enthusiastic: “I just think it’s great. It inspired so many hearts.  I think it’s very awesome, passerby, Victor Oliva, told Boston CBS. Ed Wang from Brookline also expressed his admiration:  “I think at first, when I saw it, it was only a few hearts. Now you can see it’s the entire fence right here with all the hearts. It’s just that sense of hope that we all need at this point. It’s wonderful!”

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