Stick With Hope

A Peacemaking Project by Esperanza L.

What is the injustice we are solving?

Externally, youth may appear to have it all together. Internally, they may feel isolated, alone, without hope.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of youth feeling isolated, alone, without hope
we will address mental health stigma among youth
by developing curriculum for youth educational presentations and mobilizing youth ambassadors of hope who will write notes of encouragement to other youth

Our Project Plan:


  • participate in community events
  • research different mental wellness resources for youth
  • pilot an educational presentation on reducing mental health stigma for youth

We will increase my / our compassion by...

meeting others interested in encouraging youth through Stick With Hope; increasing awareness and knowledge regarding mental health issues among youth; identifying appropriate resources and possible solutions

How will you show courage?

facing uncertainties related to the events: meeting strangers, being flexible, problem solving when things don't go as expected

How will you collaborate with others?

discuss with community organizers and other supportive peers and adults

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

positive response from the community, event organizer

Key Steps

  • contact/make connections, confirm, show up, reflect/review, follow up, make changes, move forward
  • compile list of "lessons learned"


How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

Some youth may not have caring individuals in their lives who encourage them. They may need ideas about helpful, encouraging things to say to others.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

Increased awareness of the issue and thus increased reaching out to others and caring for people they don't know

How many people were impacted by your project?


Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

# of Stick With Hope packs distributed, # of people who wrote notes, # of youth who received notes, # of people who learned about Stick With Hope

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

read books, online resources

What did your team learn?

There may be one person affected directly by mental illness, but many people are affected indirectly by that one person. Some youth prefer to write notes to people they know.

What challenges did your team overcome?

finding community collaborators; making sure note messages were appropriate

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

A few community collaborators were interested in spotlighting Stick With Hope through their communication channels. I encourage replication of the idea, but with different design depending on the needs of a particular audience/community setting.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

It can be a slow start, but pleasant surprises do crop up the longer you persevere.

Our Updates:

Stick With Hope

Esperanza L. 16 January 2018 23:04 MLK weekend

draft mental health presentation script for feedback

Esperanza L. 18 January 2018 13:28 Draft%20Mental%20Health%20Presentation%20Script%20Middle%20School%20-%20E.Lee_.docx

mental health stigma reduction presentation

Esperanza L. 28 January 2018 11:00 Presentation for Grade 6-8 students.  See video link of an excerpt from the presentation

Teen Art Festival

Esperanza L. 25 February 2018 19:24 Thanks for the Peace First mini-grant to help purchase some craft supplies!

Service-Learning Conference

Esperanza L. 17 March 2018 10:19 Educators and youth joined in to write Stick With Hope notes.  Some wanted to replicate this idea in their own communities.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Esperanza L. 17 May 2018 16:03 One of Stick With Hope's ambassadors partnered with Jovenes Latinas al Poder

Ripple Effect

Esperanza L. 29 May 2018 18:39 More students impacted as two freshmen bring Hope Notes (in collaboration with Stick With Hope) to their high school.  Students enrolled in their school's special education program received the notes of encouragement.


Adrian B.
6 June 2018 14:15

Hi Esperanza!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

The project and presentation you've shared with us shows that you've impacted a large number of people and helped them think more deeply about mental health stigma and how to support others. Notes of affirmation can be powerful ways to build community and support others in general, and I love the way it allows people to take a simple way to show up for others.

Things to consider:
I know you've done in-person workshops as well--I'd love to know more about the work that you've done in your workshops and how you frame these events. I'm also curious if you refer people to mental health supports and services, so that they have resources for what they need. I'd love to see you dig deeper into the root causes of mental health stigma--how does your project address and dig into the root causes? (I think there are ways it does, but I'd love to hear from you about it--and think together about ways that could grow!)

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!


Kelsey T.
5 February 2018 13:29

I think you're right that a lack of understanding about mental illness can result in a lack of empathy -- and I think your project can definitely help bu educating people and encouraging empathy and a supportive, encouraging culture. Hopefully as people become more aware of the realities of mental illness and how the stigma is impacting young people, bullying behaviors will be reduced. Keep up the great work and definitely keep digging and reflecting on what you learn as you go. I'm excited for where your project will go!  

Esperanza L.
4 February 2018 22:29

Thank you for the mini-grant! Your feedback is also helpful and I will continue to think about it more. Causes include: denial that mental illnesses exist, lack of understanding regarding mental illnesses which can show up as unkindness and a lack of empathy, negative media portrayal, etc. People who understand mental illnesses, yet perpetuate the stigma, should be considered bullies.  

Kelsey T.
2 February 2018 13:50

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below

This is a wonderful project to address a very real need for young people who are feeling isolated or coping with mental health issues. It is great that you have identified how this stigma is causing unnecessary harm to young people who otherwise might be able to feel supported on their journey with mental wellness. Spreading awareness is a really important part of this work and creating educational resources is a great idea. It is wonderful that you are reaching out to local community organizers and working to develop a coalition of supportive partners.

Things to Consider:
One thing to consider is how to dig a bit deeper into the root causes. While addressing the mental health stigma will definitely help youth feel less isolated, alone and without help, what do you think is causing that mental health stigma in the first place? How can your project address the root cause of that stigma?
Who perpetuates the stigma and why? I'm also curious to hear how you might be able to engage and involve young people who are experiencing this injustice in the process of the project? Finally, how can you find a way to measure the impact of your curriculum? One thing to consider is incorporating an evaluation into the workshop so that you can capture information about what people learned and the impact that it is having. Keep up the great work!

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!

Ashley D.
19 January 2018 12:10

Awesome project and great cause! Looking forward to following this projects development.  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
17 January 2018 12:46

Excellent! Let us know if you need feedback on your plan and please do apply for a mini-grant.

If you share the curriculum with us (you should be able to upload it as a file), we can get you some comments! We have some folks on our team who have experience with curriculum development for young people. We're happy to help!  

Esperanza L.
17 January 2018 12:40

Thank you for your feedback. I have a plan in place and the mini-grant would be helpful because I have a community event in March and some supplies are needed for that event. Yes, I have ideas and a draft of a presentation curriculum. I would like to see what resources you may have or know about on curriculum development for youth mental health and teaching empathy in relationship to youth mental health. Thanks!  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
17 January 2018 8:57

Hi Esperanza -- this is a really inspiring project! You're right that teen mental health is a really important issue that is so often overlooked. It sounds like you've already been doing a lot to raise awareness and build partnerships. How are your conversations with community organizers going?

It sounds like your next step is to plan and implement a curriculum. Is that right? If so, we can help. Let us know if you have any thoughts, ideas, or questions about curricular development and we can go from there!

Later, once you have your plan in place (and we have tools to help you with that at, we can help you out with a $250 mini-grant.

Sound good? Any questions, or things we can help you with?