At Children’s Hope Residential Services, we take today’s abused and neglected children and prepare them to be tomorrow’s future leaders. We teach them life skills that will place them in good standing throughout their development. We provide them with training in how to navigate relationships and society across a variety of cultures and contexts. We give them opportunities to develop a sense of self that includes a strong work ethic, a set of core vocational skills, and an understanding that they can contribute to the global economy. We show abused and neglected children that they can be agents of change in a world where they have previously felt out of control, victims of uncaring, cruel circumstance.

At Children’s Hope Residential Services, we want each child to know that they are strong, useful, and important members of our community. That begins by teaching them all the ways that they can have a positive effect on their environment. They have opportunities to volunteer in the community, helping others that they never knew were less fortunate than themselves. They also learn to be creative and nurturing, helping to produce items that are useful within their homes.

At our Washington Campus, we teach girls to till the soil and grow vegetables. It is hard work, with many valuable lessons. The girls learn that they are capable of being nurturing and get to watch their plants almost miraculously sprout from the soil. They are captivated by the sight and the knowledge that they were able to make something grow. They watch as tiny sprouts take shape and color. They provide water and plant food and see their seedlings turn to cilantro, bell peppers, and tomatoes. At meals, knowing they helped put food on the table is a great source of pride and self-esteem.

Children’s Hope activities such as the garden at Washington campus helps build character, promotes self-concept, teaches about sustainability and the environment, and leads to thoughts about future careers. The goal is not to make every child into a farmer, but to get children to realize that they can accomplish amazing things when they put their minds (and their hands) to it. In the end, these children do better in school, and have a better outlook in life. They have ideas about what they want to be when they grow up. They have learned to dream again, and dreams, like vegetables, can be harvested with a little nurturing and hard work.