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Hope Circles Program

Hope Circles Program

Hope Circles incorporates Dr. Dixson’s latest research in hope, student well-being, and academic engagement to prepare students for success.

It is offered over 12 weeks for high school students and over 6-weeks to middle school students and ensures that students receive a cutting-edge and high-quality program. Much of Dr. Dixson’s collaborative work with schools and nonprofit organizations is conducted through the Hope Laboratory.

Hope can start a self-perpetuating positive feedback loop that leads to higher student success.

Hope is one’s perceived ability to envision a better tomorrow, regardless of their current circumstances, coupled with the belief that they can make it so.

Higher hope is associated with a host of positive academic outcomes including higher academic engagement, curiosity, academic achievement, and happiness within the school context. It is also associated with a lower risk of negative outcomes, including anxiety and depression.

I used to be a very negative thinker in middle school. If I had been in this program when I was younger, I would have understood how important it was to think positively and plan out my life and my studies. I wouldn’t have been so anxious.

Caira Blevins, high school student in Dr. Dixson’s program
Our Renaissance High School family

Steps for Cultivating Hope

The Hope Circles program:

  • Challenges students’ perceptions of what it takes to be successful and their probability of being successful
  • Teaches them specific and tangible strategies to help them get from where they currently are to dream accomplishment

Student training sessions are based on the theoretical and applied work of Dante Dixson, PhD and other positive psychology scholars. The sessions provide:

  • Hope-based training, including sustainable practices for students
  • A path to building positive habits to sustain their goals
  • Social Emotional Learning skill-building activities including role playing, brainstorming, and guided discussions
  • Evidenced-based peer-to peer mentoring, supporting mentee growth and development

Program Components

The Hope Circles Program: a positive psychology mentoring intervention for middle and high school students

Project Healthy Community collaborates directly with Dr. Dante Dixson to design and deliver the Hope Circles program. It incorporates Dr. Dixson’s latest research in hope, student well-being, and academic engagement with Project Healthy Community’s mentoring program.

The program delivers a psychosocial intervention to students, directly implementing Dr. Dixson’s latest research-based strategies and techniques. This intervention has been found to increase the hope, academic engagement, school belonging, and well-being of students via changing students’ psychosocial perceptions.

  • The psychologist led intervention integrates solution-focused, cognitive behavioral, and narrative techniques. The program uses a trainer-the-trainer model. A psychologist trains a group of high school students, who then train the middle school students.
  • High school students receive 12 hours of psychosocial education and middle school students receive 6. In recognition of their work, high school students are awarded a 6-week paid internship in the field of their choosing. This gives them an opportunity to apply their learning in the real-world.
  • A school-wide student engagement survey is provided to all participating schools. The survey asks students for information about their characteristics (e.g., age, GPA, grade, socioeconomic status), their psychosocial perceptions (e.g., hope, well-being, curiosity, student belonging), and their actions (e.g., academic engagement, work ethic).
  • Professional development for teachers and administrators is available for interested schools. If teachers or the administration identify an area in which they would like to improve their skills as a faculty that is related to the survey (e.g., helping students feel a higher sense of belonging, higher hope, higher academic engagement, etc.), Dr. Dixson will come to your school to provide a workshop on the topic.