The Story of Kids at Hope
Kids at Hope traces its history to 1993 when a group of youth development practitioners expressed concern and distress about the use and abuse of the term youth at risk. It appeared to these professionals that our society might have unwittingly stereotyped an entire generation with an expression or label that unfortunately, devalues them. The coining of the term Kids at Hope generated great interest not only in the community based youth development field but also in education, recreation and law enforcement as well. It appeared that our community was ready to discard a label which may have at one time or another had merit, but which over the past two decades may have been so maligned that it was too easy a way to try to sum up the many threats our children were experiencing or could experience.
A group of education, youth development, law enforcement and recreation leaders were invited to a meeting to further explore the Kids at Hope concept and determine if it was possible to reverse the current youth at risk paradigm to that of at hope. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix was the organizing body but it realized that Kids at Hope was not about another well meaning youth program; it was about an entire belief system and strategy which needed to be part of the overall culture and not housed in the four walls of any one institution.
Through significant research and evaluation Kids at Hope has created a youth development strategy that begins with a belief system that states and demonstrates, all children are capable of success, No Exceptions; supported by a culture of individuals and organizations willing to suspend self interest to accomplish a common good on behalf of all children; and finally enhanced by programs which permit and demonstrate how all children can succeed on their terms as well as our terms.