Through sprinkles and an ocean breeze, Betsy Ryan recently hosted a grand unveiling to open her We Can Be Angels wings to the public.

The wings, painted by artist Colette Miller, are intended to bring awareness to the Syrian refugee crisis, in conjunction with a Mark of the Nazarene necklace that Ryan designed with artist Joseph Kadakian. The wings are also meant to inspire all those who stand before them to put love and kindness into their actions.

Girl Scouts dressed in white, with flowers in their hair, floated through the unveiling ceremony while a harpist played music. Councilmen Jeff Duclos, Hany Fangary and Justin Massey distributed certificates signed by California State Senator Ben Allen and Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles Executive Director Isabel Rojas-Williams.

The certificates were given to folks who have supported the wings and the necklaces—Miller, Kadakian, KP Funism, Annie Seawright-Newton and Lana Istwani, to landscaper Jose Castillo and to local philanthropists Brent Broza and Nick Schneider. Allen also awarded Ryan with a certificate of commendation.

After a recent article in The Beach Reporter about the Mark of the Nazarene necklace and the We Can Be Angels project, Istwani, manager of The Green Store and Syrian immigrant, said that sales have increased. She is pleased that people are stepping up to help strangers halfway around the world.

At the same time, Istwani said that several people have stopped by and offered to pay off the $50 left on a man’s bill. He wanted to buy the necklace, but couldn’t afford it all at once. He asked to pay it off in an installment plan, and was halfway through at that article’s press time.

When she told him that someone wanted to pay off the rest, he declined, asking her to donate it to the cause, but saying he’d like to finish paying for the necklace himself. It meant that much to him to rescue a stranger. Istwani found it touching.

Necklaces are available for sale in person at The Green Store, located at 2151 Hermosa Ave, or online through Each necklace costs $100. Ryan hopes to sell 1,000 necklaces to save four refugee families and help them relocate to Slovakia.

To get your picture taken in front of the wings, stop by the 17th Street Mural House at 1800 Hermosa Ave.

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