The Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Hope

We are interested in both the science and power of hope...

Our Mission

The Hope Center mission is to encourage partnerships, conduct research, and develop and disseminate resources that empower and transform organizations, families, schools, and entire communities to create and nurture a culture of hope where all children and youth experience success, no exceptions.

Hopeful thinking is associated with higher perceived competence, life satisfaction, and mental health. It engages children and youth in constructive learning and social behaviors, increases achievement in school, and helps maintain family cohesion. In contrast, low levels of hope are associated with symptoms of negative mental health and behavioral problems in youth. The Hope Center is a dynamic partnership between ASU and Kids at Hope to leverage research and practice to advance the science and practice of hope.

We endeavor to further the scientific study of hope and to provide necessary tools for professional development and evaluation of efforts that will nurture and educate others to improve their hopeful thinking. We are interested in both the science and power of hope.

Our Partnership

The Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Hope (The Hope Center) reflects a unique hybrid partnership, bringing together the highly successful not-for-profit community organization—Kids at Hope—with the academic and research expertise of faculty researchers and staff within the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at ASU. The Hope Center was established collaboratively around core beliefs and related practices that support children, youth, adults, and communities regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or religion by nurturing well-being and providing a sense of hope and optimism in the lives of young people.

The Hope Center will support clinical practice (training opportunities, workshops, professional development, and research conferences) offered to a wide-sector of community-based organizations. In partnership with Kids at Hope, we are interested in working with agencies wherever children are served in homes, schools, and communities—including, for example, the Arizona Supreme Court, county human service departments, county probation and law enforcement, local recreation programs, regional and national school districts and education departments, and municipal governments across the country.

Our Goals

Enhance the science of hope and its clinical and health applications by providing new insights into how hope (and hopelessness) impact children, youth, families, and communities. Hope is a malleable attribute that fosters positive development. As such, we intend to study hope as a motivational factor that initiates and sustains positive actions.

Serve as a nexus of activities supporting student academic learning, discovery, research, and creativity. We have identified core practices that encourage effective hope-building in various settings. By examining how these practices are put in place and their relation to organizational and individual outcomes, we can discover what may work to benefit others in less hopeful situations and settings.

Enhance local, national, and international impact by offering professional development opportunities for a wide array of youth-serving organizations. We will co-develop solutions with organizations to empower families and communities to nurture and motivate all children and youth to reach their full potential.

About Kids at Hope

Kids at Hope (KAH) is an international not-for-profit organization founded in 1993 in an effort to reverse the stigma and stereotypes exhibited in the phrase "youth at-risk." The materials, tools, and training techniques that encompass the model are now operating in communities across 21 states in the U.S., and Alberta, Canada. KAH creates a culture of hope across organizations using a common language and belief system to unite communities around the strengths of youth. Nearly 450 organizations serving approximately 650,000 youth have adopted KAH principles and strategies based on three major research findings: Youth succeed when they a) are surrounded by adults who believe they can succeed; b) have meaningful and sustainable relationships with caring adults; and c) can connect learning to their futures (through mental time travel). KAH has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics as one of four initiatives in the country that transforms organization and community cultures. Outcomes associated with schools implementing KAH include, increased sense of self-efficacy, increased attendance, and decreases in disciplinary rates and suspensions in schools.