For over 25 years, New Hope has been providing services free of charge to Oklahoma children of prisoners. Our organization began in 1992 as a summer camp for children enduring parental incarceration. The critical need for our programs has grown year after year in Oklahoma, which currently holds one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. Through the years our programs have greatly expanded to include after-school programs, community-based programs, weekend retreats, holiday parties, and case management services.
Our programs are designed to end generational incarceration by helping one child at a time meet his or her challenges. Through evidence-based curricula, we aim to develop children’s intellectual, social, and emotional competencies and promote healthy decision-making and critical thinking skills. Our staff training combines the best practices in youth development with mental health strategies that specifically address the unique needs of children of prisoners.
New Hope provides weekly school-based programs in elementary schools in Tulsa Public, Union Public, Broken Arrow Public, and Oklahoma City Public Schools. These programs focus on issues like peer pressure, self-efficacy, making healthy choices, and coping with issues out of our control using an evidence based circle format where participants can express themselves through arts and crafts, games, journaling and discussions.
New Hope provides community-based groups held in downtown Tulsa. These programs provide support groups in a format similar to that of our after-school programs, but also provide ACT preparation, recreational enrichment, financial literacy, and sex education units throughout the year.
One day of community-based programs a week is dedicated to the arts. Each week this evening provides children with opportunities to cope, grieve the loss of their parent, and express themselves artistically in ways not usually found within the traditional education system. A sample of activities include glass-blowing, pottery, drumming, photography, and culinary arts.
At every community-based program, children are given an after-school snack and dinner. Many children are sent home with additional food weekly to combat food insecurity.
New Hope’s summer camps provide a week of fun and learning for children ages 8-18 throughout the state. With a curriculum tailored specifically for our population, we aim for important developmental and coping skills to be realized while young people simultaneously relax, have fun, and learn through activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, archery, and arts and crafts. New Hope provides age based residential camps as well as a Counselor-In-Training (CIT) Camp. After completing a service learning CIT camp, 16-18 year olds serve as volunteer counselors at Camp New Hope.
To help children overcome the struggles associated with parental incarceration, we must dedicate time and resources to ensuring that our children’s needs are met in and out of the classroom. Case management allows us to reach children individually while also supporting their families. Through case management we are able to conduct home visits and support our children and their caregivers through difficulties such as (but not limited to) abuse, homelessness, physical and mental health issues, and hunger insecurity. Through case management, we have been able to assist in meeting innumerable needs from helping caregivers enroll in school or find employment to ensuring that a child has glasses, a hearing aid, a therapist, or a bed to sleep in.
New Hope also helps children enjoy the holidays through community events. New Hope offers a back to school party with school supplies to help children start off the school year on the right foot, a Halloween party with safe trick-or-treating, thanksgiving baskets, a holiday party with gifts for children to take home and unwrap, a Valentine’s party, and a spring party complete with an egg hunt. In addition to helping lift the burden on often-overburdened families, these events bring fun and solidarity to our New Hope community.
New Hope offers horse retreats, canoe retreats, and a counselor-in-training retreat for children ages 11-18 throughout the school year.