Hope is Rising in Enid, Oklahoma!
On Thursday, October 7, 2021, First Lady Sarah Stitt opened the Hope Summit in Enid, Oklahoma as part of the state’s Hope Rising Oklahoma Initiative.
The theme was “Hope Rising in Enid” and over 300 people spent the day at the Stride Bank Center learning the framework of hope science: goals, pathways, and willpower.
The Oklahoma Initiative and Hope Summit draw their names and focus from the book co-authored by Dr. Chan Hellman: Hope Rising: How the Science of Hope Can Change Your Life.
In addition to First Lady Stitt, speakers included Governor Kevin Stitt, Mart Green of Hobby Lobby, Dan Schiedel of United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma, and Dr. Chan Hellman and Dr. Evie Muilenburg-Trevino of the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa Hope Research Center.
The summit began with First Lady Stitt remembering her early life when she did not think of herself as a hopeful person. After marrying Gov. Stitt, she learned from him what being hopeful looked like. After reading Dr. Hellman’s book, she knew she wanted to bring hope to Oklahoma.
Mart Green told the audience he knew from living in Oklahoma City that many people need a second, third, and last chance. He, too, read Hope Rising and came to embrace the science of hope and intuitively knew applying the framework could change a person’s physical, spiritual, and mental health.
The central focus of the summit was Dr. Hellman’s presentation on the Science and Power of Hope. While the framework of hope – goals, pathways, and willpower – may seem simple, its practiced application is anything but simplistic.
Hope helps people move from viewing a person from a deficit perspective – “What’s wrong with you?” – to viewing a person from a strength perspective – “What’s right with you?”
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS), under the leadership of Secretary Justin Brown who attended the Hope Summit, has embraced this perspective. Helping restore a family’s and child’s hope is a fundamental principle for DHS, especially for those working in Child Protective Services.
Dr. Hellman emphasized that hope is a way of thinking, not wishful thinking.
Embracing a shared language of how hope is defined is important for a community in furthering the work of hope. Hope matters because it can help a person and a community struggling with trauma not only imagine a better future but also help empower them to make it happen.
To highlight the hope rising in Enid, Dr. Muilenburg-Trevino presented the results of a survey completed by 930 Enid residents. The survey indicated about 88% of respondents had moderate or high hope with an average score of 51.65 out of a possible 64 points.
Dr. Muilenburg-Trevino explained that hope scores in Enid were higher for homeowners, higher-income earners, and individuals with a postgraduate degree. However, increasing hope is not dependent on socio-economic issues. Instead, hope increases by having conversations centered around setting goals, identifying steps to achieve those goals, and finding the motivation to take steps forward even when adversities or barriers occur. Everyone can increase their hope.
“Hope begets hope,” said Dr. Hellman. Being intentional in setting goals and creating a vision of the future can help nurture hope in both ourselves and others.
The summit drew to a close with breakout sessions focused on identifying where hope was high and low in the sectors of Education, Criminal Justice, Faith, Commerce, and Human Services. Further, participants in the breakout sessions identified ideas for projects in which hope could transform each of these sectors.
The Hope Summit in Enid is part of a bigger plan to create a hope-centered state where all segments of the state share a common language with a common goal that the citizens of Oklahoma will thrive.
Building a better community begins with you. If you would like to know more on how you can have your own Hope Summit or how to apply the science of hope in your organization, please click here to send your request: Hope Rising!
To read reports in Enid News & Eagle about the Hope Summit in Enid, please click here: Hundreds attend, participate in Hope Summit; Hope survey results show what’s next for Enid’s hope, and Editorial: Enid summit outlines the impact of hope.
* Photo from Enidnews.com.