HOPE! Drama Troupe is a group of youths whose mission is to end child abuse and neglect and strengthen families in Polk County. The troupe created a special, filmed set of monologues addressing the prevalence of abuse during the pandemic.
HOPE! DRAMA TROUPE YOUTH SUPPORT RESOURCES
Iowa Department of Human Services 800.362.2178
Polk County Crisis & Advocacy Services 515.286.3600
Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS) 515.282.9377
Young Women’s Resource Center 515.244.4901
Iowa Victim Service Call Center 800.770.1650 or text ‘IOWAHELP’ to 20121
Iowa Sexual Abuse Lifeline 800.284.7821
National Suicide Lifeline 800.273.8255 or text ‘START’ to 741741
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.4673
Children & Families of Iowa (Des Moines) 515.243.6147
National Runaway Safeline 800.786.2929
ChildHelp National Hotline 800.422.4453
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Support) 866.488.7386 or text ‘START’ to 678678
LGBT National Youth Talkline 800.246.7743
Trans Lifeline 877.565.8860
Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer 866.256.7668, 515.271.5060 (Des Moines)
Nissa African Family Services Helpline 844.269.6203
Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders 866.881.4641
RISE – Resources for Indigenous Survivors 641.481.0334
Deaf Iowans Against Abuse 319.531.7719 or text 515.661.4015
About HOPE! Drama Troupe
HOPE! Drama Troupe was started by the Child Abuse Prevention Council in 1993 in response to an increase in child abuse cases in Polk County. The program was housed at The Des Moines Playhouse, later moving to Des Moines Public Schools Central Campus, and was directed by area theatre professionals, including T Valada-Viars, Tim Wisgerhof, Kim VanHaecke, Joanne Wilson and more. In 2018, the Child Abuse Prevention Council voted to grant the rights to HOPE! to Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre, where Jenna Darsee, Nate Jorgensen, and David Van Cleave took over leadership. In the summer of 2020 amidst the pandemic, HOPE! found a home at The Playhouse and will continue programming in partnership with The Playhouse.
HOPE! Drama Troupe is a group of 20 middle school and high school youth whose mission is to end child abuse and neglect and strengthen families in Polk County.
Each year, HOPE! Drama Troupe members use an original script to educate area youth about child abuse and the impact it has on children and families. Their 25-minute performance defines the types of abuse, demonstrates the consequences of abuse, and identifies how to get help. The troupe tackles tough issues that are difficult for youth to talk about and portrays ways to discuss problems and seek assistance.
There is a documented link between childhood abuse and long-term health effects, including visual, learning and hearing deficits, increased illness, emotional disturbances, delayed language development, low self-esteem, and aggressive tendencies. According to Prevent Child Abuse America, the most costly long-term effects are those associated with responding to adults who, because of earlier abuse, are involved in criminal activity. Their report puts those costs at over $5 billion annually in the United States.
Polk County statistics show that child abuse is just as prevalent in Polk County as in other parts of the country. Educating young people about the consequences of child abuse and advising young victims to seek help is vital to the prevention of child abuse as well as important for early intervention for juvenile delinquency. Since it began in 1993, HOPE! Drama Troupe has always been well respected in local schools for its ability to communicate with teens about physical abuse, neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, date rape, teen pregnancy, and the many other problems associated with child abuse.
The troupe generally spends one day each month, November-May, with their professional directors and a counselor, touring Central Iowa and performing for various middle schools, high schools, community groups, and more.