Schools for Hope



schools for hope banner

The Project

The Schools for Hope project aims to prevent hopelessness in children in effort to end youth suicide. We will do this by developing a curriculum that teaches tools for having Hope to 5th grade students and providing kits with all the necessary materials for teachers to implement this curriculum.

This curriculum teaches hope by showing students how to create a map to get what they want, teaching the motivation to get to those goals (definition of Hope via Cheavens, 2013) and introducing skills outside of typical ‘school’ skills like testing, that will support students along their  mapped out journeys.

We are give kids tools they need throughout life to find HOPE when all else is wrong.


The Research

google 'school makes me depressed'



1 in 9 children attempt suicide before high school graduation, and 40% of those are in grade school.  There is a significant rise of attempts in 6th grade(Journal of Adolescent Health via Family Matters, 2011).

Primary predictors of suicide include hopelessness and depression (Association of Physicians, 2004) while higher Hope corresponds to greater emotional and psychological well-being, greater academic performance, and enhanced personal relationships (Snyder, 2005).

The number one auto fill when you type ‘School Makes Me’ into Google is ‘Depressed’. This needs to change! We want to see the number one auto fill for ‘School makes me’ be HOPE so that as kids are utilizing the search, they are given an option to find HOPE before depression.




The Action

Schools for Hope will develop a curriculum and corresponding teaching kit that will be distributed around the world after the initial launch in Chicago, Illinois this spring.

This is an opportunity to teach children to focus on the positive in their daily lives, develop resilience needed to face life’s challenges, have a peer to peer support network, and encourage dialogue among their influencers by:

schools for hope child sunflower

  • Engaging children through a 360° support and wisdom sharing system that includes their peers, teachers, counselors/psychologists and parents.
  • Partnering with mental health education experts in order to make curriculum targeted, self-paced and ready to implement into school systems.
  • Leverage online and new social mobile application technology to implement the program. Content will be engaging and inspirational and delivered on a relevant youth-oriented platform.
  • Integrate a yearly sunflower planting symbolic of HOPE in the Spring, writing messages of Hope to those that then harvest the seeds in the fall, starting the infinite spiral for Hope.
  • Garnering research through metrics analysis, evaluation and optimization.

Schools for Hope will be piloted in Chicago schools but we plan to adapt it in order to deploy tailored program focused in PTSD and tragedy to those areas as needed. (i.e. Sandy Hook, Columbine, Oklahoma, etc.)


Why sunflowers?

We use these as an international symbol for depression (just like breast cancer charities use the pink ribbon). Depression is treatable yet less than 50% of the 350 million around the world with depression are getting treatment, primarily due to stigma. IFred’s global mission (International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression) is to shine a positive light on depression and eliminate the stigma associated with the disease through prevention, research and education.


Are You Ready to Teach Hope?

Join with us to teach hope and reduce suicide among youth

cps children 2012 planting marching

  • Use these materials below to reach out to your community and spread the word about Schools for Hope.
  • Reach out to your school district and learn what it takes to get outside curriculum implemented in your school system. When Schools for Hope publishes the curriculum on line, you’ll be prepared to build Hope right away.
  • Spread the word about what we are doing on Social Media. #teachhope
  • Donate to iFred so we can continue our work to eradicate stigma and shine a light on depression.
  • You can always join our communities online where you can share your own story for Hope. Tell iFred and our community how you Shine Your Light, there’s always someone who needs the inspiration.