This is a transcription of a short clip in which Dr. Hellman shares more behind his research on Hope, including as it applies to well-being and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES). You can watch the video here.

The good news is that hope can be taught. We know this process. We know these strategies we’ve developed. Strategies that I can show are statistically significant improvement in a child or adult in about one hour of hope work. We can introduce these strategies in a very short amount of time right and the process itself is well established.

 It starts with the goal setting process, then listing and discussing potential pathways, identifying sources of motivation, helping children identify obstacles and begin to find strategies to solve those barriers, and then ultimately we advocate creating a hope visual or a gallery of hope.

This is a pretty high trauma group of kids. I study about 2,000 youth who have been exposed to domestic violence. The average age of these kids is 10 years old. It is a one-week camp run for these children. The camp is run by 18, 19, and 20 year old camp counselors so it is not a therapeutic camp. It is a hope-centered camp, so the curriculum is built on hope. We measure hope 30 days before the last day of camp and 30 days after the last day.

What you see is a statistically significant increase in a child’s hope scores from before this intervention to the last day of the intervention and the hope scores remain. Here’s the good news: a two-point increase in a child’s hope score. Look at pre-test to post-test, two-point increase in a child’s hope scores which predicts a letter grade change in the classroom. Improving a child’s hope will improve their behaviors at school.

I do want to give a shout out Enid Public Schools who is building this hope centered school process and we are building tool kits with them. The big news is that we’ve created a hope navigator training program, where hope navigators will become the school’s local experts on hope to work with teachers, counselors, and principals to help build a culture of hope. What we’ve learned in other research is that schools where children have higher hope scores have significantly lower chronic absences, get better grades, have better graduation rates, and better attendance. A child’s hope scores are a better predictor of first-year college performance than the SAT, ACT, or high school GPA. Nurturing hope benefits a child’s life

I want to show you what we found on hope and its impact on teachers, counselors, and staff at schools. We found that hope was a better predictor of staff well-being than resilience. In fact, resilience lost its significance as a predictor. Hope is a better predictor than resilience of well-being.

*POS stands for Perceived Organizational Support.

We see that hope is a significant buffer to burnout which then reduces turnover. So hope is a significant predictor of both burnout reduction and reducing turnover.

When we look at goal attainment, individual hope and burnout are significant predictors but when we look at school burnout, the significant predictor becomes collective hope. That’s what we’re doing at in public schools, building a culture of hope in a school. I like to finish with this quote at the very top. It’s the idea that, “At the heart of change is our ability to understand the way things are right now in my life and that I can begin to imagine the way things could be.” That is the essence of our capacity to hope, that the future will be better, and I have the power to make it so.



Hope Rising SEL’s curriculum is based on Dr. Chan Hellman’s definition of Hope, and it is making a difference in many schools and communities across the country.

If your school isn’t using My Best Me yet, we would love to help you bring Hope to your school. Our sales team is ready to answer your questions and demo My Best Me for you. Contact us to start spreading Hope in your school.