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Hope is Rising

posted by Katie Slade on Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Recently, I came across a presentation that really resonated with me. The presentation included research on the science of hope. The premise included the notion that adversity robs us of our capacity for hope. And, as it turns out, thousands of published studies have identified hope as the single best predictor of wellbeing across ones’ lifespan.

This study stopped me in my tracks and sure got me thinking…you know, that makes a lot of sense. Things have been heavy lately…and by lately I mean the last several years or so.

Gosh, to further that thought, if you’re familiar with the human service industry (meaning child care and community based services)…well, we face adversity more often than not. And so I wondered, do we still have hope?

It sure is easy to rattle off adversity we’re facing in our world, in our nation, and in our industry. These are just a few of the fi rst things that come to my mind…

To start, we just went through a GLOBAL pandemic. And today, all around the world we see war, devastating natural disasters, injustices, polarizing views... the list goes on.

Within our organization we have seen and lived with workforce shortages - our Direct Support Professional workforce has run with crippling shortages for most of our 65 years. The child care workforce more recently is experiencing the same struggles. These workforce shortages make it difficult for these industries to keep pace. And yet, the need for services like ours continue to grow as well as our state’s waitlist for services.

So yes, we’re rather familiar with adversity to say the least. Which begs the question, how do we combat this?

The study stated hope is actually a way of thinking. When I heard this I thought, that’s great news, because I can control my thoughts which lead to my actions.

How is hope then defined? Hope is the belief that your future - our future - will be better than today and you (we) have the power to make it so.

So, how do we nourish and restore hope? We use imagination (driven by our vision), we work towards goals we desire, we have faith, and we connect with each other.

I stand in awe of the team I see around me - the hundreds of sta ff that proudly for EPI. I am so deeply grateful for their commitment, compassion, and expertise - they are true leaders in this field.

They inspire my hope for an even brighter future for the people we serve. I believe, hope is rising.  

This article was published in our 2023 Community Report, found here.

About The Author

As the Executive Director of Exceptional Persons, Inc. (EPI), Katie believes in EPI's vision of - working together we will realize a future where all people are recognized and valued – encouraged and supported to live, work, and grow – in their communities. At EPI w ... read more