Kids at Hope HIGH FIVE
Since 1993 when the term Kids at Hope was coined to reverse the stigma, abuse, and misuse of the damaging expression "youth at risk," Kids at Hope has continued to explore the scientific literature to further understand how all children can succeed, NO EXCEPTIONS!
In 2000 Kids at Hope introduced a remarkable and powerful cultural strategy rather than a program-driven effort as the basis for a simple but powerful understanding of the first element required by all programs, curricula, or activities offered to children - a belief that all children can succeed, without exception . This commanding statement would replace the self-fulfilling prophecy suggested in the youth-at-risk paradigm.
The Kids at Hope belief system anchored two additional and equally important cultural requirements all children need.
The first is meaningful and sustainable relationships with caring adults, now commonly referenced as the four Elements of Success or the Four ACES : the ACE of Hearts identifies the anchor parent; the ACE of Clubs, all other caring adults who can positively influence a child; the ACE of Spades - now known as the Treasure Hunting ACE - which refers to those unique individuals who can uncover the treasures and talents often buried in our most vulnerable children; and the ACE of Diamonds, which recognizes those important adults who facilitate children's pathways to success by exploiting, uncovering, and nurturing their intelligence and talents.
The second requirement for creating a cultural framework was Destinations, where one needs to contribute to succeed. Kids at Hope's research revealed that "success" is somewhere rather than something . These destinations included: Home & Family; Education & Career; Community & Service; and Hobbies & Recreation. This distinction also introduced an enhanced understanding of the concept of HOPE (children who visualize a future within these destinations are expressing a sense of hopefulness). Supporting a child's sense of future is paramount to instilling hope. Accordingly, it also encourages all groups and individuals to empower their children to achieve their goals by sharing a common understanding and language about success.
And, most significant, this framework and shared language also revealed a series of principles, techniques and practices which would offer an uncomplicated yet potent strategy focused on instilling the power of HOPE in all children and youth, without exception. In other words, children who are taught and practice conscious and unconscious discussion about their future focused within these four destinations are empowering themselves toward achievement and a holistic sense of fulfillment.
To operationalize the framework, Kids at Hope has crafted and tested five interconnected expressions which intentionally support the attainment of success by all children and youth, without exception. These five expressions include: 1) The articulation of the Belief System by all adults within defined environments, such as the home, schools, youth organizations, faith-based institutions, and departments that serve youth and communities at large. This statement by all those who surround youth, regardless of their position, share and promote children as at hope rather than all children are capable of success, NO EXCEPTIONS; 2) Encouraging children to recite the Kids at Hope Pledge, which recognizes them as at hope, with talents and a plan for their future (see Kids at Hope Pledge and the importance of self talk); 3) Issuing a Kids at Hope Report Card at least once a year, which focuses on a child's potential rather than the child's behavior; 4) Offering a Kids at Hope Passport to the Future at least once a year, which is designed to ensure that all children can visualize a future at four destinations where they are capable of succeeding; and 5) A method known as ACES Tracking which validates and documents the importance of connecting all children with a caring adult in a meaningful and sustainable manner.
To more fully acknowledge those schools, groups, and communities which adopt the full power and enormous value and simplicity of the Kids at Hope belief system and practices, Kids at Hope is introducing its HIGH FIVE achievement and public recognition program. This effort is designed to better and more consistently introduce, promote, and establish Kids at Hope initiatives across the country.
Kids at Hope HIGH FIVE will be symbolized by offering the High Five to colleagues, peers, friends, and associates or holding up your hand and showing all five fingers as a sign that the practice and achievement of HOPE for all children is being realized in your home, community, school, organization or department by: 1) the Belief; 2) the Pledge; 3) the Kids at Hope Report Card; 4) the Kids at Hope Passport to the Future; and 5) the ACES Tracking.
Don't wait to become a Kids at Hope HIGH FIVE!