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#HopeHeroes: Oklahoma Human Services employees empower communities to take a stand against bullying

Three Child Welfare Specialists start non-profit to educate and inspire change

In the fall of 2021, Amy Reese, a dedicated Child Welfare Services Program Field Representative, had an unfortunate close encounter with bullying when a loved one became a victim of aggression by their peers in school. Frustrated and uncertain, Amy drew upon her extensive experience of more than 14 years in child welfare and made a resolute decision: "I decided to social work the issue!"

Taking action, Amy reached out to her fellow Child Welfare Specialists in Alfalfa County, Shanndee Wessels and Caitlin Clark. In December 2021, the trio convened at a local church in Cherokee, Oklahoma, laying the foundation for their remarkable anti-bullying non-profit, Hope4Healing.

The vision of Hope4Healing extends far beyond merely addressing the symptoms of bullying. Amy, Shanndee, and Caitlin strive to prevent bullying by educating local school administrators, students, parents and communities on the underlying causes and mechanisms behind this pervasive issue. Equally important is their commitment to providing a platform for students to share their own stories of bullying, empowering them to reclaim their voices and find solace in a supportive environment.

Fueling their mission and initiatives, Hope4Healing engages with the local community in various ways. Attending community events, they not only raise awareness about bullying but also sell baked goods, fostering a sense of camaraderie and collective purpose. Their inaugural garage sale was a success, both serving as a platform for generating funds and spreading the urgent message of tackling bullying head-on.

Looking ahead, Hope4Healing is set to embark on a new chapter by exploring grant writing to secure additional resources. This expansion will enable them to scale up their educational programs, organize impactful workshops, and establish partnerships with schools and organizations dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of children and teens.

The year 2023 marked a significant milestone for Hope4Healing as they proudly awarded scholarships to local graduating seniors. Through an essay contest, students shared their insights on how their respective school districts could effectively prevent bullying. This initiative not only rewarded these exceptional individuals but also epitomized the organization's commitment to nurturing a generation equipped with the tools to dismantle the scourge of bullying.

Driven by their unwavering determination, Amy, Shanndee and Caitlin aspire to expand Hope4Healing's reach beyond their own county. Their vision encompasses working closely with all four districts within Alfalfa County and eventually extending their influence to other counties across Oklahoma. Their ambition knows no bounds, and their mission to eradicate bullying is fueled by an unwavering belief in the power of education and compassion.

In their remarkable journey with Hope4Healing, Amy, Shanndee, and Caitlin exemplify the unwavering spirit of social work and the profound impact it can have on communities. As true ambassadors of Oklahoma Human Services, they bring hope and transformation to their fellow Oklahomans, showcasing that with the right mindset, even small changes can pave the way for significant differences. Their dedication to combating bullying and nurturing safe environments for children reflects the core values of Oklahoma Human Services, reinforcing the organization's commitment to fostering a brighter, more compassionate future for all. Together, they stand as beacons of hope, inspiring us to embrace the power of social work and unitedly create a world where every child can thrive without fear.

You can follow along with Hope4Healing on their Facebook page:

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Last Modified on Oct 10, 2023
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