A Banner Year for Hope and Healing in an Akron Neighborhood

Everyone has a gift to offer his or her neighborhood. And although we might imagine that our gifts should relate to our vocation, an Akron Ohio doctor proves otherwise. 

In the spring of this year, Dr. Ann Leano, a Cleveland Clinic Akron General doctor, began gifting her neighborhood, not with medical care, but with artistic, homemade banners. 

During the recent shelter-in-place orders, Leano noticed that more and more people were walking around in her neighborhood. Wanting to bring a little joy and light amid the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic, Leano thought: “I’m going to start putting out posters on the door. My first one was Faith Over Fear.” 

After spending some time on Leano’s front door, the Faith Over Fear poster made its way to the door of her neighbors, Nathan and Emily Cropper. “We all jokingly say we’re all just part of the gallery,” said Emily Cropper. 

Leano’s next banner featured a Black hand holding a white hand to form a heart, which honors racial unity following the death of George Floyd. The Croppers, a biracial family, felt especially touched by the banner, and other neighbors also reacted with warmth and gratitude.

The banners became increasingly time-consuming and elaborate, and soon much of the neighborhood was adorned with Leano’s heartfelt artwork. Dr. Ann Leano obviously has many gifts, including her skills in the medical profession. But by using her heart and artistic talents, she encouraged unity in her neighborhood in an especially trying time. 

What passions do you have outside of your vocation? Do you love to paint, knit, sing, or write? Can you think of any ways to turn these talents into blessings for your neighbors?

(Information for this blog taken from “Doctor’s homemade banners are hope, healing for neighborhood” by Betty Lin-Fisher in the June 26, 2020 issue of the Akron Beacon Journal online.)

©2021 by The Hopeful Neighborhood.