“Hope is a feeling, an expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope gives us the drive to press on against the odds.” This is message opens the H.O.P.E. Workshop that Case Manager Tameika Hughes-Foote facilitates at Wellspring, our daytime resource center for women. The purpose of the workshop is engage women in having hope in their lives no matter where they are at and to help them to start thinking in a hopeful way. Participants learn how to re-frame and re-think how they look at situations in order to instill hope and empower themselves to seek freedom from their past barriers that have hindered their ability to move forward.
Tameika is quick to point out that H.O.P.E. is an acronym in this four-week workshop, representing healing hearts, optimistic thinking, perseverance and empowerment.
Through the workshop, participants are able to share their own experiences of struggle and pain when hope felt unattainable. Hughes-Foote creates a safe space for sharing by speaking openly about her own experiences of domestic violence. She recalls one fateful night that ended in feelings of complete hopelessness that she would ever be free from the violence of her partner. But she persisted. “Upon waking up the next morning, I had an unexplained sense of relief.” Even though separating from him did not happen right away, hope was instilled in her that day, and she came up with an exit strategy that changed her life. “This is one of many stories of hope being found in the midst of my trials. It was hope that allowed me to release the emotional baggage I carried for so long,” say Hughes-Foote as she speaks to the women in the H.O.P.E. Workshop.
“I hope they have more confidence in themselves to endure whatever situations they are in,” she says. When asked what impact she hopes to see, “Women becoming more open to share struggles they have never shared before…finding hope.” Hughes-Foote says that she can already see how the workshop is impacting the women who attend. She had one woman in an unhealthy relationship say it helped her build confidence and find hope in order to get to safety. Another woman said, “I really needed that” after they concluded the “optimistic thinking” workshop.
When guests reach the final week, they see what it means to embrace hope through their own empowerment. Each woman selects a bracelet with a message that represents what they hope to be and to have in their lives. They can wear these as reminders of their own strength and of the hope they have restored.