Creating Hope for Oklahoma Kids
One of the many reasons that we believe in the power of sports is because of the hope that they create. Sports give kids a place to grow their minds, bodies and characters while learning about the true strength and confidence they possess. But how is hope different from optimism? Can the presence of hope really change the course of someone’s life?
All of us at C4K have been fascinated by the concept of hope as a life-changing force since we read Casey Gwinn and Dr. Chan Hellman’s book, ‘Hope Rising.’ The concept of hope theory is, “the belief that your future can be brighter and better than your past and that you actually have a role to play in making it better.” People with high hope in their lives are able to identify their goals as well as the pathways necessary to achieve those goals.
We believe that sports create hope by showing kids what they are capable of. They also connect kids with role models in older players and coaches. The experience of playing a sport opens the door to so many other experiences and life lessons. We believe that every child, no matter their circumstance, deserves the chance to get in the game.
Hope has recently become a statewide concern. In July of this year, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services announced a new partnership with existing agencies and nonprofits to create, “Community HOPE Centers.” These centers provide Oklahoma kids with many different resources including mental health, virtual school assistance, food security services and more. These HOPE Centers, “infuse the science of hope” in all that they do to make sure these kids and their families receive the support they need. Since the launch of the Community HOPE Centers, OKDHS has expanded the platform to 27 operating sites serving 1,689 kids.
C4K is honored to be a part of this effort by providing sports shoes and equipment to kids in these HOPE Centers. Since December, we’ve been able to help hundreds of kids at HOPE Centers operated by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Trinity, Lilyfield and El Sistema. These children received brand new running shoes thanks to Thunder player Darius Bazley. We are also providing balls and equipment to help kids develop hope and character through physical activity.
“St. Luke’s is proud to partner with C4K to bless the lives of children through our HOPE Centers,” Executive Pastor of Administration at St. Luke’s Phil Greenwald said. “Providing shoes and sports equipment enables our children to play, have fun and experience the gift of something new! We look forward to continue to partner with C4K to help others in the community.”
C4K is so thankful to all of our community partners who have helped make this possible and look forward to continuing our work throughout the year. Their dedication to supporting Oklahoma kids is truly inspirational. “We are honored to be a part of this project to create hope for Oklahoma kids,” C4K Executive Director Stacy McDaniel said. “We hope that by providing sports shoes and equipment to kids served by these centers, we’ll be able to act as an agent of hope and introduce them to the life-changing power of sports.”
Want to learn more? Stay tuned to C4K’s social media to see more stories of how physical activity and sports create hope throughout the next year.