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A small group of three female friends huddle in closely together as they pose for a portrait.

Focused on Hope, Inspired by Youth

I attended an event that inspired me to write about my appreciation for the contributions youth make to our communities. As a parent educator, I am often asked how to address youth-related problems. Parents and other adults wonder what to do about their child’s or student’s anxiety, risk-taking behaviors, or worrisome social media habits. Last night was different. The focus was not on fixing problems. It was about recognizing the important messages being spread by our youth, and the impactful actions they are already taking on their own behalf.

The Focus on HOPE: Youth as Inspiration event was hosted by the Hampton Roads Trauma Informed Community Network (HRTICN). The event was a local kickoff to Virginia Statewide Resilience Week 2024. During Virginia Resilience Week (May 5-10), organizations and individual citizens engage and collaborate to promote the well-being of children, families, and communities.

The local Focus on HOPE: Youth as Inspiration event was held at the Chrysler Museum of Art and highlighted the voices and creativity of young people in our region. We learned about youth-led projects and programs. Youth took the opportunity to share their trials and triumphs in a variety of ways. We viewed visual art created by students in the Hampton Roads Community in Schools Program. We listened to poetry and music by Teens with Purpose from Norfolk, and we heard from and had conversations with a dynamic group of Youth World Changers who are part of the Alternatives Inc. organization based in Hampton.

I am a HOPE (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences) facilitator for the HOPE National Resource Center and help educate parents, professionals, and the general community on the four research-based building blocks of hope. For me, last night was the perfect demonstration of how those building blocks (Relationship, Environment, Engagement, and Emotional Growth) show up in real time. I learned from the youth experts themselves that when they have a sense of belonging and can contribute to making the world a better place, they have the capacity to change the world. What they want, and aspire to do, is to create a hopeful vision for our collective future.

For additional information about the HOPE building blocks, visit this link. To learn about and join HRTICN, click here.

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About Michele Tryon, CCLS

About Michele  Tryon, CCLS Michele Tryon, CHKD community outreach coordinator and parent educator has worked with children and families for 30 years, providing services in the hospital, home, school and community setting. Michele is a Certified Child Life Specialist, a Certified Positive Discipline™ parent educator, a nationally recognized trainer/consultant for Nurturing Parenting Programs™ and co-author of The Nurturing Program for Parents and Their Children with Special Needs and Health Challenges©.