“I have never seen a program change the culture of our schools the way Hope Squads has. The power of peer-to-peer and education about mental illness has opened doors and saved lives. The number of students we have saved both inside and outside of our school district is beyond life changing. In my 22 years of education, I have never been involved in a program with the impact Hope Squad has had. The program truly brings a community together. I have worked with our local mental health professionals, fire department, community, members, parents, and most importantly our students. Lives both inside and outside of the school have been changed and impacted forever.”
— Dr. Holly Ferguson, Superintendent
Prosper Independent School District, Prosper TX
“I enjoy being on Hope Squad because I have learned so much more about not only caring for those around me but also about my own mental well-being.”
— Kevin Tang, Hope Squad Member
“We can put boots on the ground, eyes in the hallways, ears out there in the room. I said, ‘Sign me up, I absolutely want to do it. This is where I need to be.’”
— Tony Cooper, Hope Squad Advisor
“Through Hope Squad I have developed and learned the most important skill a friend can have: the ability to listen completely.”
— Benjamin Ramos, Hope Squad Member
“My biggest takeaway from Hope Squad over the past few years is the realization that you never truly know what any one person may be going through in their life and the immense impact a single person who truly cares can make.”
— Luke Wilson, Hope Squad Member
“I have had three children participate in Hope Squad. Other parents always ask me if they are too young or they feel too much pressure. I always tell them absolutely not. You can never be too young to learn how to be aware of those around you.”
— Cristie Wood, Hope Squad Mom
“The reason I’m in Hope Squad is because it brings hope to me. I feel good, I feel happy when I’m reaching out to others.”
Hope Squad Member
“Some families do baseball.
Some families do karate.
Our family does Hope Squad.”
— Cristie Wood
Hope Squad Mom
“I cleared my schedule to get Hope Squad in. A situation came up when somebody felt suicidal, and this time I was able to help them. Nothing feels better than being able to save a life.”
— Hope Squad Member
“We have students looking out for others who may be marginalized, who may be suffering. We need more Hope Squads.”
— Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox
“I imagine this as emotional CPR. My job isn’t necessarily to be able to heal someone all by myself, but just keep them okay until they can get more professional help.”
— College Hope Squad Member
“My son Zach served as a member of the Hope Squad at Layton High last year. When a girl who was having a particularly difficult time reached out to him, he ran past me some of the texts he sent back to her. He felt intimidated but excited to put into action what he’d been learning. He shared with me some of the process he went through to direct her to help, a process he was trained to do in his Hope Squad training. As a psychologist, I was blown away by the role he was able to play when the right training and facilitation prepared him to do so. It was a role that no adult, no matter the amount of caring or level of expertise, would have been able to play simply because they would never have had that chance to be the right person at the right place at the right time. Not the way a peer could.
I couldn’t help but wonder: was this girl who reached out to Zach one of the kids who didn’t kill themselves last year because of the Hope Squad program? It’s wonderful that we will never know! And we don’t have to know. But we can know that every year in every school in Utah and those other states you’re serving, there is someone, probably more than one someone. A child or two, a young man or young woman, who didn’t kill themselves. I have a deep sense of amazement and awe at what you’ve done already—and the momentum and size of the wave you’re riding continue to grow!”
— Mark, Hope Squad Dad
“We had a Hope Squad service project in October. I invited the younger grade teachers (1-3) to nominate 2 or 3 students that could use some extra attention, positive experience, etc. I matched each of those kids up with one of our Hope Squad members. The Hope Squad picked the younger student up in their classroom and we all went outside and played. The assignment with the Hope Squad was to make that 15-minute time period all about their younger "buddy"— let them choose the activity, make it fun for them.
One of the students nominated was a very difficult 2nd grader who is always angry and defiant. I paired him with my most outgoing and happy 5th grade boy. He did a great job playing with him and making him feel special. I told the Hope Squad member afterwards that it was the first time I had seen that child smile this year. That 2nd grade boy's family just met with a team at our school to work on his behavior plan and other issues he is having. Mom reported that he talks about the day the Hope Squad took him out to play, and it is his "best day at school ever". This is over a month since the event. Mom is requesting more help for her son from the Hope Squad.
It was great to hear of our Hope Squad making a difference for a young student with many challenges!”
— Eliece Jenkins, Jr. Hope Squad Advisor
“At Ogden Preparatory Academy we have a great bunch of Hope Squad members. There is a young man who moved here from Mexico this year and speaks absolutely no English. He was sitting alone during lunch and didn't seem to have any friends. Our squad members took it upon themselves to find out which lunch he has, and what his 2nd period was, so that they could eat with him. This young man said that it meant so much to him because he felt like he had no friends and was alone.”
— Darby Evans, Hope Squad Advisor
“One of our Hope Squad members noticed a boy in one of her classes that seemed very withdrawn and distant. She had noticed him before but didn't remember him being that down before. She didn't know his name or really anything about him. As class ended she made her way over to him and said, "Hey you seem down. . . just wanted to say hi and let you know I noticed you today and you seem a little down. Can I help?" The boy was surprised but very open with her. He replied, "Well I broke up with my girlfriend yesterday and have been thinking of killing myself all day today. But thanks for saying hi and caring about me." She reiterated that she cared and was sorry about what had happened. She was encouraging. He thanked her and said he was feeling better now. The Hope Squad member then came to the advisor and reported the boy’s name and we were able to talk with him and get him some help. The boy later told people that this Hope Squad girl’s care and concern helped keep him from killing himself.”
— Michael Winslow, Hope Squad Advisor