Hope Groups Provide Outreach to Local Youth

Released: 3/10/09

This fall, Marquette developed a unique collaboration between graduate students in a group counseling course in the Department of Counseling & Educational Psychology and students at Nativity Jesuit Middle School. The graduate students served as leaders of Hope Groups, 3-week psycho-educational groups designed to teach middle school students about Snyder’s hope model of goals, pathways and agency.

The Hope Groups utilized a training model such that the graduate student leaders engaged in peer observation as well as implementation of group activities. The sessions were based on hope groups developed at the University of Kansas. As part of the learning experience, graduate students used exercises from the previous groups to design each week’s session, observation forms and outcome evaluations for the 3-week group sessions. Each week after the group, graduate student leaders debriefed and provided each other with feedback to evaluate which parts of the group went well and what could be modified for future groups.

In addition to providing unique training opportunities for graduate students in this course, the Hope Groups provided an opportunity for an ongoing relationship between Marquette University and Nativity Jesuit Middle School.

Lisa Edwards, instructor of the group counseling course, noted, “Thanks to the openness of Melodie Hessling, the principal at Nativity, we were able to begin this important collaboration. It ended up being a great learning experience for everyone involved so we hope to continue these groups in the future. In addition, providing outreach to youth in our communities is one important way in which we demonstrate our commitment to social justice.”


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