After the Webinar: The Application of Kids at Hope. Q&A with the Presenters

Webinar presenters Rick Miller, John Schow, Tim Hardy, and Dr. Joe Barton answered a number of your questions after their presentation, The Application of Kids at Hope: A Cultural Strategy. Here are just a few of their responses.



Audience Question: Who do we reach out to you to get access to a mod one training? 

Rick Miller: You start with Kids at Hope So just write to me, Rick@kidsathopeorg. I will come in, show you the mod one but more importantly, we’ll train your people to offer mod ones. If you’re an area close to John or Tim or Joe, they have people they’ve been trained to do offer mod ones. If you’re outside of that area, you need kids at hope to come in, I’m happy to come in so my people can come in. So absolutely. Contact me at and I’ll connect you before that first introductory training.



Audience Question: So, I did want to share a comment and ask a question about Sheila’s comment here. Sheila says I want to emphasize that Kids at Hope is applicable outside of the juvenile justice system as well. I became a treasure hunter in Pima county and still incorporate that philosophy into the work I do now with school districts in the Seattle area. So, my question for you Rick, and other panelists, is that a common experience? Do you see a lot of use of kids at hope outside the juvenile justice system?

Rick Miller: Oh absolutely. Tim talked about it a little bit, John because we didn’t have time for you and your how and because Sheila once worked in Pima County and she’s done the John Skull strategy where wherever she goes, she takes kids with her. Engaging the other community particularly in DuPage county, what was their response when you invited them to join you in some of the symposiums and seminars and training?

John Schow: They were thrilled. The teens that got to go to Arizona were thrilled and I want to say hi to Sheila. We miss you in Arizona. So, when the first one with you and Antoine was a big hit and everybody wanted to go with that and everybody wanted more. It just started everything. So, we did the mod ones and then they wanted more so we invited you back for the Aces, the Four Aces, the Ace of Hearts, Spades, and Queen.

Rick Miller: Not yet the first positive experience?

John Schow: Not yet, no. And the positive carrying adults and you came and taught us much to it. There were like, I don’t know, 18 or so people in that one in DuPage county all volunteers that wanted to learn more and then out of that group, there are adults at hope committee training. So, they’re on a roll and they’re doing mod ones and I was able to step out, and with support, they’re moving on and they developed all these tools on their own to incorporate the language. You walk into the juvenile probation department or the division there, you see Kids at Hope all over the walls and it’s the culture there now.

Rick Miller: John’s points were taken. When you create a culture, you use all the pieces, language, visuals, sound, touch. You want to involve people, right? We use the example when you walk into a Catholic church, you know you’re in a Catholic church. When you walk into a Jewish synagogue you have a different experience but you know you’re in a Jewish synagogue. When you walk into a center or system or sector or institution that believes all kids are capable of success, no exceptions. What do you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear? What should be that experience? You don’t see leaving, connecting, and time-traveling as manifestations of it so that’s pretty powerful. Thank you, John. Thank you, Sheila



Audience Question:  So, Michael has a comment and a question. He said that Hope is the silver bullet to ACES. The science shows that kids with higher hope scores are able to overcome ACES. So, I wanted to hear your comments on that and also Michael is asking how do you measure hope in your programs? 

Rick Miller: I’m going to fill the first part but I’m going to toss it over to Joe because that’s how Joe and I connected so powerfully in his understanding of the other side of the coin. One of the challenges Joe and I have and others have with ACEs is once you have an ACEs score, it’s very static. You’re going to have it for the rest of your life, it’s like an attitude. But Kids at Hope, and hope itself, the science of hope, hope is malleable. Hope is a malleable construct that can change. Joe, I’m going to let you take it from here, and then I’ll come back to the measurement side.

Joe Barton: It’s such a hugely important thing to take a look at and in fact, if you look at the research, we are not alone in this. It’s very clear that there are all kinds of mediating factors, resiliency factors, protective factors, the ACEs score, the Adverse Childhood Experiences is not the be-all, the end-all answer here. In fact, there’s a lot of controversies and a lot of risks of using it as a screener, and essentially as I said before partly what you run into is that it kind of just that’s the lens through which you view, the children that you’re working with. If HOPE is the silver bullet but how do you find HOPE? And what we know is in relationships. It’s in safe, healthy hopeful relationships and I’ll tell you, I’m a cynic. So, when you first hear this and I’ve talked to people in my field. They got HOPE. “Come on Joe, can we talk about something not so fluffy? Something a little more concrete?” No. Hope is a verb. Hope in Kids at Hope is a verb. It’s not just something that we sit back and doesn’t just mean that we are Pollyannish. It means that it takes a lot of hard work. It means that we really and truly believe that children can be successful and there are no zero exceptions to that. There’s not one kid that we write off. Not one child that we write off. So, it’s in that relationship that you start to develop this hope. This intrinsic value and internal locus of control. Then you got to go through and measure that. Culturally, you got to be able to have surveys, and again, you can work with Rick on these. These are exactly the things that I’ve talked with Rick about in his institute. Just say listen, we got to be able to measure this, we got to see where we are, we have to get scores, we’ve got to have data and we got to able to improve. Rick actually has research in a department and can be beneficial in this and that’s how he’s really helped me and come in and just looked at where do we stand and we came in and just did a cultural survey to kind of get a litmus test of where we are and then we want to measure that moving forward and see how and if we’re improving.

Rick Miller: To piggyback on Joe’s comment, yeah within the center for the Advanced study and practice of HOPE. We use a number of different instruments to measure hope and culture. We start off with these three instruments that we share with you. We’ve taken the responses to those and we shoot out a report to you to measure your sense of readiness for Kids at Hope and your sense of hopefulness amongst your kids and we can do it for both kids and adults. We can measure a sense of hopefulness in kids and adults. The fascinating part here is you cannot have a kid at hope until you first have an adult at hope. You can’t teach a kid to read unless you know how to read. You can’t teach a kid what you go to the right foot or left foot unless you know what goes on the right or left foot. And you can’t teach hope unless you’re a hopeful person. So, that becomes part of the culture, right? That becomes part of the culture strategy. Are we surrounding our kids with hope or people who believe in them? Are we surrounding our kids with lots of people who know the juvenile justice system, or child welfare, or behavioral health, but don’t know hope? Once you understand that, the difference between the management side and the visionary side or the passionate side, once you kind of get those two operating together, things began to change quite, quite powerfully. So, again, whatever questions you have that aren’t answered during this webinar, please write to me or John or Joe or Kim and we will continue our conversations with you. We hope that that is the case. And Aaron, about one more question for Tim Hardy before we wrap up?



Audience Question: What ACES tools you are specifically using? It sounds like that might be a fairly quick question we can respond to. 

Rick Miller: Yeah. So again, keep in mind our ACES is the metaphor, It’s not the acronym, is not about childhood experiences. It’s usually the four aces of a deck of cards, Ace of Hearts, Ace of Spade. Ace of Clubs, Ace of Diamonds to define the types of relationships kids can construct with adults and adults construct with kids. We have an aces tracking system that actually helps you identify which adults or which kids aren’t connected. If you need that information, I’m happy to share that information with you. It’s a very powerful system. It’s the only system like it in the world. No one tracks relationship as important as it is to resiliency, to hope, self-efficacy, to grit. All those things that are associated with relationships. No one actually tracks relationships. We have an aces tracking system that we would be happy to talk to you and share with you.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of The Application of Kids at Hope: A Cultural Strategy


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