National Study: Camp HOPE America Has Positive Impact


Memphis’ Camp HOPE America Part of National Study

Camps Report Powerful Results from Working with Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

 (MEMPHIS, TN), February 26, 2018 – Without hope and the skills to cope with the trauma in their lives, children who have witnessed domestic violence are likely to perpetuate the same cycle of violence when they become adults. Camp HOPE America strives to break that cycle. It is the first camping and mentoring program in the country focused on children impacted by domestic violence, and the Family Safety Center in Memphis operates the only Camp HOPE America site in Tennessee.

“Hope is measureable and malleable,” says Camp HOPE America founder, Casey Gwinn. “We can measure hope and we can increase it in the lives of abused children. Once we increase hope, we can change the trajectories of their lives.”

Camp HOPE America started as a camping program in San Diego, CA but it has now moved on across the country with support from the Verizon Foundation and many other corporate and private donors. In 2017, Camp HOPE America operated in 11 states, including Tennessee, with more than 22 weeks of camp in the summer as well as year-round activities. Camp HOPE America in Tennessee, a six day overnight camp experience, will take place July 22-27, 2018 in Raleigh. Both locally and nationally, the camps are netting positive results.

The University of Oklahoma’s (OU) Hope Research Center, under the leadership of Director, Dr. Chan Hellman, has been evaluating the effectiveness of the Camp HOPE America camping and year-round mentoring program for four years. The evaluation report released by the OU Hope Research Center this week stated, “The results of this evaluation support a growing body of evidence for the power of Camp HOPE America to change the lives of children exposed to domestic violence. The Pathways to HOPE Project can help sustain Hope and Resilience year-round among children and teens who are exposed to domestic violence.”

“Hope is the best predictor of long-term well-being in children exposed to trauma,” says Dr. Chan Hellman. The OU report concluded that an increase in children’s hope was associated with increases in the child’s belief in self, others and their dreams, psychological resilience, and positive attitude toward academics. Similarly, higher resilience is positively associated with academic self-perception, academic goals, motivation, and self-regulation.

According to more than 2,000 published pieces of research now, hope represents a positive psychological strength that promotes adaptive behaviors, healthy development, and both psychological and social well-being. Higher hope is associated with better coping skills and better health and health-related practices.

Camp HOPE America in Memphis is offered to children of Family Safety Center clients. The Family Safety Center is part of a national alliance of Family Justice Centers and Multi-Agency Centers serving victims of domestic violence under the Alliance for HOPE International umbrella.

“Locally, our campers last year reflected the same positive improvements stated in the national report,” says Olliette Murry Drobot, executive director of Family Safety Center. “This program has a good track record in those states that have operated the camps for several years. We hope to expand the Memphis program this summer. We have some funding from Verizon but we are looking for individual donors and local businesses to step up. It is a good investment in the future of our community,” says Murry-Drobot.

The national research report is attached and more information can be found at For information about Camp HOPE America in Memphis visit

About Family Safety Center: Founded in 2011, the FSC co-locates domestic violence services in Memphis and Shelby County in order to improve outcomes for victims. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, Memphis Police, the District Attorney, and Memphis Legal Services have a fulltime presence at FSC. This innovative approach brings together the resources necessary to help victims find safety, justice, and hope. FSC navigators work closely with victims connecting them to appropriate services either at the Center or at partner agencies in the community.



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