Hope Thurston is an initiative that focuses on improving the lives of Thurston County residents by recognizing the importance of hope in a person’s ability to thrive. The project, which is based on concepts put forward by hope theory, scientifically furthers the mission of Thurston Thrives to improve public health and safety in the county.

Having a hopeful attitude is considered one of the ways in which people’s lives, health, and well-being can be most significantly improved. Research shows that hopeful people tend to be more productive, more successful, healthier, and less likely to suffer from depression or PTSD. The side effects of hopefulness are anything but insignificant, which is why Hope Thurston is getting serious about scientifically measuring and quantifying the level of hope that exists in Thurston County.

This June, Hope Thurston plans to establish a data-driven “Hope Score” for the county, which will help to inform the ways in which social detriments to people’s health can be improved. At the same time, Thurston Thrives wants to use the initiative to educate the community about the ways in which the presence of hope can spread and heal.

Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim, one of Hope Thurston’s founders. Photo courtesy Dinea de Photo.

“We want to make Thurston County a ‘hope informed’ community,” said Jon Tunheim, a Thurston County Prosecutor and one of Hope Thurston’s founders. “That will lead to a hopeful culture — because we know that when people have a strong sense of connection to community they have a higher likelihood of being hopeful. It is a social (gift) we give to each other.”

On June 26, the public is invited to the launch celebration of the “Make Thurston County a Hope Informed Community” survey at the South Puget Sound Community College Lacey Campus. The event, which begins at 8 a.m., is free and includes a breakfast. Those interested in attending should RSVP in advance here.

To learn more about Thurston Thrives and the Hope Thurston survey, visit thurstonthrives.org.