$15 million in CARES funding to be used to create Community HOPE Centers

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials say $15 million that the state received through the CARES Act will be used to create Community HOPE Centers around Oklahoma.

On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the move, which will create 30 Community HOPE Centers by the end of 2020.

Officials say the centers will serve approximately 4,200 children and their adult caregivers.

“The First Lady and I have put a stake in the ground to address and reverse the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences in our state,” said Gov. Stitt. “This important, transformative work will develop pathways for children and families to overcome this difficult time. Strengthening Oklahoma’s families has generational impacts and will help us continue our forward momentum toward Top Ten status.”

Community HOPE Centers provide critical services to families by providing access to mental health professionals, OKDHS staff, virtual learning tools like computers and iPads, meals and snacks, and a weekend backpack program.

“The negative effects of childhood trauma are significant and multi-generational,” said First Lady Sarah Stitt. “By providing mental health services, social-emotional learning programs, and educational and nutritional support, these HOPE Centers will be a foundational step to mitigating the negative impacts of COVID in Oklahoma and will ultimately lead to becoming a Hope-Centered state.”

The initial site will serve youth in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City and will be operated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County.

Organizers say Community HOPE Centers will follow safety protocols related to use of PPE, social distancing, sanitation, and use of masks.

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