From the Editor

I never thought of hope as having scientific attributes. I believed that hope was basically a positive feeling about the future.

But Dr. Ashley Cross, founder and Executive Director of the Rochester-based The Hub 585, Inc. and the Hope Center, describes the science of hope. The Hub 585 is a “relationship-centered community where marginalized youth and their families hope, heal, and thrive.”

In this issue, we will hear what Dr. Cross and Oni Colón, MPH, Manager of Family Services, The Hub 585, have to say about hope.

We believe at Starbridge that it’s important to share “the Hope and the How” with our families who have a member with a disability. Our children and adults with disabilities often deal with trauma in their lives in the form of challenges such as anxiety, bullying, and managing difficult behaviors.

So we are intrigued by Dr. Cross’s viewpoints and advice. Dr. Cross describes Starbridge as “a pathway to goal achievement” and “a hope champion.”

Best to you and yours,

Maria Schaertel

What Hope is and What it is Not

Scientist and hope expert, Dr. Chan Hellman, describes hope as “the belief that your future can be brighter and better than your past and that you actually have a role to play in making it better.” Dr. Cross emphasizes the second part of this definition: we have a role to play; we have the power to make it better. Children, teens, and parents can be taught the science of hope and they can learn to increase hope in their own lives.


According to Dr. Cross, hope is based on three simple ideas:

1. Goal setting – creating strategies

2. Pathways – (way power) ability to identify routes toward goals and to find new routes (problem solve) around obstacles if necessary

3. Agency – (will power) ability to sustain motivation to move along these pathways

According to the Science of Hope, Hope is not:

Self-efficacy: having confidence to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks

Optimism: making a positive attribution and expectation about succeeding now and in the future

Resilience: when beset by problems and adversity, sustaining and bouncing back and even beyond to attain success


What about you and your family? Do you have hope? Let’s hear what Dr. Cross has to offer on how to gain more hope. 

Five Tips to Building Hope for Your Families

1. Talk to your children about their goals and their plans to reach them.

2. Listen carefully to your child. What do they really want? What are they really trying to accomplish?

3. Help your child identify and explore their gifts, talents and abilities and match them with their goals.

4. Talk through scenarios as a family, “How will we respond if x happens?”

5. Teach your child to fail well. “Teaching children to fail well means transforming failure from an identity to a temporary action. Through the pain of failure, we can teach our child that failure does not define them. We can teach them that challenging situations are not a "test" of their intelligence or ability, and that failure is not permanent.”

Fostering Hope Among Families

Improving parents’ hope significantly improves the parent-child relationship quality (empathy, discipline, and child empowerment).

Parents with low hope will rarely produce children with high hope.

Parents with high hope will give their children the greatest chance of success in life.

Want to learn more about how to increase hope in your family? Here’s a great resource that includes Hope scales (mini questionnaires) for you, your children, and your family. You can determine your hope score, target areas that need attention, and then work to improve your hope:  

Hope Rising: How the Science of HOPE Can Change Your Life (Paperback). Also available in Kindle, Audiobook, and CDs.

Hope and the Brain

Oni Colón describes how hope relates to the brain.

“The decision-making around goal setting and pathways that opens the door is in your pre-frontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is where you conduct your executive functions needed to convert vision to reality.

When we are using the pre-frontal cortex, we connect ourselves to the future by way of a goal that matters to us.


When trauma, fear and hypervigilance drive our lives, we are unable to use our prefrontal cortex to create goals, build relationships that sustain our motivation, and critically think about pathways to achieve our goals.


Just as executive functions can be taught, so can the use of hope to set pathways toward goals and achievement.” 

Why Does Hope Matter?

Research shows a correlation between hope, problem-solving skills, positive psychological health, coping response to ongoing stressors, and recovery from depressive systems. 

Hope, in contrast to toxic stress, essentially can heal the brain.

Hope is the single best indicator of an individual’s ability to thrive.

Starbridge and The Hub 585 Team Up

Starbridge and The Hub 585 have much in common in terms of their missions and visions to care for individuals and families and to reach a place of belonging in the community.

“Did you know that hope can be measured and that hope is the single best predictor of wellbeing across the lifespan?” (from Hope Rising – How the Science of Hope Can Change Your Life)

Over the next year, The Hub 585 will be guiding Starbridge in a pilot project to measure hope in families and to determine how Starbridge tools and resources help families to improve and sustain their hope scores. 

Additional Resources

The Hub 585, Inc.

Learn more about Dr. Ashley Cross

Voices of Hope Podcast

Dr. Chan M. Hellman TED Talk – The Science and Power of Hope

As Dr. Cross says, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” Check out this Starbridge video to learn how to take better care of yourself: Maintaining Caregiver Wellness


The Hub 585, Inc, The Hope Center contact information:

111 N. Chestnut St., Rochester, NY, (585) 261-0583


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