Hope is an optimistic state of mind, and South Dartmouth’s Hedge of Hope is a bush that is quite literally filled with hope of all shapes and sizes.

It's almost fitting to see so many handmade ornaments tangled in the hedges along Elm Street in Padanaram Village. The ornaments, hung with care by many hoping to offer words of encouragement and support to others, have been tossed around in a handful of wind storms since being placed on the bushes during the annual Padanaram Holiday Festival earlier this month.

This is what makes the ornaments a bit more special; despite being beaten up (and beaten down) by bad weather, their colors dulled from the rain, these hopeful ornaments are still hanging on. Some are leaning on their fellow ornaments and others are tangled around multiple branches to keep from falling. They're going to make it to the New Year.

Surely, dozens of people have passed by the Law Offices of Rusitzky & Russell on Elm Street and wondered what the project was all about. If you slowed down long enough, you’d notice the sign for the Jimmy Fund.

Janice Russell and her husband, Attorney David Russell, have been holding their Hedge of Hope fundraiser for a few years now, but this year was their biggest success to date, noting that being outside near the hedge for an entire day really brought more awareness and participation to their annual effort.

“I had ordered around 200 ornaments and had another 50 left over the previous year. People could decorate one and hang it on the hedge or take it home for their own tree if they wanted to," Russell said. "If someone wanted to make a donation to Dana Farber in memory or honor of someone in their lives, they could. We really wanted to give people a place to offer up support or honor the memory of someone using the ornaments.”

Russell herself is very connected to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Jimmy Fund, working there for 33 years and being a cancer survivor herself.

Kristen Pacheco / Townsquare Media
Kristen Pacheco / Townsquare Media

“Everybody’s lives are touched by cancer and whatever we can do to raise money and awareness for the efforts of Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber, we’ll do it," she said. "We’ve come a long way in 33 years in all that we’ve accomplished and hopefully, one day, I’ll be out of a job because we cured it; there will be nothing left for me to do.”

Russell thanks everyone who has contributed to the project, continues to raise awareness for the Jimmy Fund and invites others to hang their ornaments of hope and encouragement throughout the holiday season.

“We hope for less sad stories and hope for more positive outcomes. We want to help people get to the other end," she said.

If these tiny ornaments can weather the storms, let us all keep hoping that we can weather them, too.

Dartmouth's Hedge of Hope Ornaments

Some of the Hedge of Hope ornaments still standing after multiple wind storms tested their staying power.

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