Local ‘Kids at Hope,’ learning life-lessons on campus

Scott Turner, KP News Minter Creek Elementary Shawna Olson teacher works with a student on a Kids at Hope mapping project last month. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

The students at Minter Creek Elementary school are all “Kids at Hope,” according to second-grade teacher Shawna Olson.

Olson is responsible for bringing the Kids at Hope philosophy to the school.

“It’s not a program, it‘s a philosophy that all children can succeed –– no exceptions,”Olson said. “And when you believe in them and they know you believe in them they’ll be successful. And it covers all areas of life.”

Kids at Hope is an international program founded by Rick Miller. “A lot of kids are traditionally called “kids at risk,” but Rick Miller said ‘We’re just setting them up for failure when we call them kids at risk. We need to instill hope in them,’”Olson explained.

Kids at Hope takes a four-fold approach using four “destinations”–– career and education, hobbies and recreation, communities and service and home and family.

“Career and education is about their future job,”Olson said. “Hobbies and recreation is what do you want to do for fun when you’re older.

“Communities and service is how they can help their community and home and family is pretty self-explanatory,”she said.

The teachers and staff are called Treasure Hunters, and every day after the students have said their Kids at Hope Pledge, the teachers and say the Treasure Hunter Pledge.   

There’s also a Parent’s Pledge.

The students make maps of the destination they want to focus on each day, then they do a writing assignment or an art project.

Eight-year-old Tyge Arnold’s “career and education”map was about sports. “I want to be a sports player. I already play sports,”he said. “I know my pledge really good. I’ve known it since last year. It means that you have hopes for the future and you’ll only get it if you make good choices. It’s serious,” he said.

Morgan Baty, 7, wants to be a mom and a vet when she grows up. “For fun, I’d play with my children and my pets. I want to help animals and people,”she said with a smile.

“And I want a comfy home and four children.”

Ask Morgan what “capable and successful”means, and she’s ready with an answer. “Capable and successful means that you can trust us with stuff  ––like the teacher doesn’t have to ask us to put stuff away,” she said.

Like many other Minter students, every day Morgan tells her mom the Kids at Hope Pledge, “and she says the parent one to me. It makes me feel like I can believe in myself and I can do stuff,”Morgan said.

For Emily Hansen, the Kids at Hope process “means that they’re preparing you for the future and saying that we believe in you and we can help you make your dreams for the future. Like what you want to be when you grow up and what kind of education you want and things like that,” she said.

And when the teachers say their Treasure Hunters Pledge every morning “it motivates me for the day and it helps me think that they’ll help us when we need it,”Emily said.

“I’d like people to know that Kids at Hope is a great thing. I know a lot of kids who are doing it and a lot of the teachers are doing it and most of kids are sticking to it.”

The Kids at Hope Pledge

I am a Kid at Hope.

I am talented, smart and capable of success.

I have dreams for the future, and I will climb to reach those goals and dreams every day.

All kids are capable of success, NO EXCEPTIONS![/box]