Message From Dr. Newman: Building hope at the start of the school Year

As we start the school year off, I’d like to share some words about HOPE.

Current data indicates that almost half of students surveyed report a lack of hope for their future and many report a lack of coping skills to manage the future.

According to the American Psychological Association, HOPE happens when a person believes they will have a positive experience – that something good will happen; HOPE also happens when a person experiences something negative but expects there will be a positive resolution.

It’s extremely important that students be encouraged to develop a sense of hope in their lives. Hope is associated with the ability to adapt and change; with elevated self-esteem and sense of purpose; to lowered anxiety and depression; to resilience and motivation to manage changes and stressors in life; to increased academic achievement, more positive mental and physical health, creativity, relationships, focus, and problem solving.

With so many students reporting a lack and loss of hope, with hope being so vital to the development of happy and healthy lives and relationships, it is fortunate that hope can be taught!

RESPECT is spending time adapting our scripts and materials to include teaching students what hope is; its importance; and how it can be developed and used to cope with stressors within their own lives.

The following are objectives we will be sharing in RESPECT conversations with students:

  • Creating nourishing networks of support.
  • Learning to focus on what can be controlled.
  • Placing big feelings in perspective.
  • Teaching coping skills to manage stress.
  • Boosting assertiveness skills.
  • Develop positive mantras.
  • Prioritize experiences and people who illustrate hope.
  • Encourage daily time to practice habits of hope and happiness.

Consider how you can share some of these in conversations with the kids you care about in your life – and pass on some hope!