Dr. Shane Lopez, a Gallup Senior Scientist and professor at the University of Kansas, has published a new book on the power of Hope. A hopeful person has four core beliefs: the future will be better than the present, I have the power to make it so, there are many paths to my goals, and none of them are free of obstacles. The middle school where I teach is implementing some of Dr. Lopez's strategies with students in an effort to build students' Hope. The research supports Hope is independent of wealth, intelligence, and nationality.
Would the kids at Saint Mary Kevin support Dr. Lopez's research?
To find out, the children and I worked on the Hope Camera Project at SMK. I spent two lessons teaching the basic concepts of Hope and then turned the children loose with digital cameras asking them to take photos of where they find hope in their lives. To be honest, I had no idea what would happen. Would the word translate? Do the concepts apply to the lives of orphans and children who have had obstacles far steeper than that of most American children? And more importantly, can we work to build Hope in the children at Saint Mary Kevin?
Here's what the children taught me about Hope:
I have hope in my friends, and they have hope in me. - Okecha Brian
Computer study gives me hope because my future will be better. - Brian
Saint Mary Kevin gives me Hope because it is one of the best schools that gives the chance to an orphan in order to work hard so they can have a better future. - Kaifa
I took a photo of myself because I have Hope in myself that when I grow up I will be someone important and I will fight for freedom. - Leo
Melissa being here gives me hope in all that I am doing and always makes me to set my goals and encourages me to continue with my hardworking. - Rosette
This drawing by my older brother, Nicky, gives me Hope because it shows how I am loved and cared for by my family at SMK and other people around me. - Issy
Dr. Lopez includes the following quote at the end of his book, Making Hope Happen: Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. - Robert F. Kennedy, June 6, 1966
The ripples of Hope from Change The Truth to Saint Mary Kevin and back are too numerous to count. Hope is definitely contagious. CTT is an agent of Hope. It provides many pathways for the children to reach their goals. And whatever the obstacles encountered, the children are learning that they can be overcome.
Hope is alive and well...and growing at Saint Mary Kevin.