Hope is the belief that despite the challenges that may lie ahead, we can make the seemingly impossible possible. To have hope is not a denial of reality but the bravery to tackle complex issues and the kindness to take action for ourselves and each other. Last week, our team had the opportunity to volunteer with two Atlanta-based organizations inspiring hope in unique ways.
We kicked off the day at the local Public Broadcasting Studios with our friends at Hope Givers, an Emmy® Award-winning organization that works to create and produce content to help transform health, equity, and well-being for all. Together, we watched and celebrated the student films focused on mental health, friendship, and community.
“At Hope Givers, we create a culture and climate that allows all voices to be heard and all stories to be told,” said Tamlin Hall, Founder of Hope Givers. “When we share our stories, we have the opportunity to see ourselves in one another and build community.”
Every film captured the spirit of their lived experiences and highlighted how, when given the opportunity, tools, and training, younger generations have the power to build better communities. After the films, the winning filmmakers helped us lean into two conversations that further emphasized the importance of connection and what it means to share your personal story as a way to create social impact.
It was great to celebrate the young filmmakers and support our shared goal of eliminating the stigma around mental health. We saw how young people break down barriers, start conversations, and uplift each other’s voices. We also know that through our research, young people want the skills to support their mental health and that of their peers.
Shortly after our time at the studio, we headed to SLAM! for an afternoon of volunteering with Hopebound, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that every young person, especially those with marginalized identities, has access to therapy. We spent the afternoon guiding children and their families through practical, accessible, and fun mental health exercises known as “grounding” techniques that promote emotional regulation, community, and wellness.
Grounding techniques use tools such as visualization and senses, including sight, hearing, and smell, to help distract you from a variety of possible feelings and thoughts. Their team also uses this opportunity to build relationships with parents and works to sign up youth needing 1:1 therapy services.
Hopebound aims to provide quality mental health care that is radically inclusive and norm-defying in its centering of BIPOC, queer, and low-income communities.
“Oftentimes people conflate being from under-resourced communities with being unworthy – unworthy of being heard, being helped, and being healed,” said Tenijah Hamilton (she/her/hers), Chief Community Officer for Hopebound. The students walked away with new skills and a foundation to help them navigate life’s challenges and better understand how to be there for themselves.
Both organizations create a space for all young people to show up as their whole selves along their journey to wellness. I left feeling inspired by younger generations and their hope for the world.
If you’re looking for ways to get involved in your community, check out these organizations or similar ones near you. Volunteering is a great way to give back, but it’s also an opportunity to learn and grow alongside the people you’re helping. And remember, hope starts with us. We have the power to create change in our communities – one conversation, one volunteer event, and one act of kindness at a time.