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The HOPE framework emphasizes the importance of positive childhood experiences, and Thanksgiving memories of family gatherings combine the sense of tradition, togetherness with extended family and friends. For many, Thanksgiving is a chance to pause and reflect on the things that are going right in our lives. Many of us recall Thanksgiving as a celebration of harvest and harmony, when families come together to watch parades, play football, and prepare time-honored recipes. These positive experiences relate to each of the four building blocks.

Below are some tips and resources to express gratitude and acknowledgement this year as a pathway to the Four Building Blocks of HOPE.

Tips by Building Block


  • Identify people that you are thankful to have in your life, and share your gratitude over the dinner table, on the phone, or in a handwritten letter. Relationships grow stronger when we share how important someone is in our life.
  • Reach out to friends and plan a Friendsgiving with them, whether it is on Thanksgiving or another day of the week, share the importance of friendships or chosen family with your children.


  • Share family recipes or pass down stories of those in your life who have influenced you and the culture you bring to your meal.
  • Expand your traditional meal to include recipes from other cultural traditions and ask children in your family to describe the significance of the dishes as you eat.


  • Many families have traditions of volunteering to help others have a meaningful experience over the holidays. Children who participate learn that they can make a difference for someone.
  • Attend a parade (or join it). Immersing children in community celebrations is another great way to create positive memories.

Emotional growth

Thanksgiving is a great time for families to make memories. No matter how you spend this day, whether you are with family or at work, try to carve out a few minutes for some fun and play. Here are a few HOPE resources you can use to make Thanksgiving fun:

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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