Providing Hope + Healing

We engage our youth through a variety of free, no-cost programs Pathways to Hope and Camp HOPE to help lead them through healing and achieving their dreams.

  • happy campers at camp hope smiling
  • camp hope kids smiling and giving thumbs up to the camera
  • character awards given out at camp hope
  • camp hope attendees playing games

About Our Programs

The Elizabeth M. Pfriem Camp HOPE America-Bridgeport and its related Pathways to HOPE program began in 2016 as New England’s first evidence-based summer camp and year-long engagement & mentoring program for young people ages 7-17 whose lives have been adversely impacted by the trauma of domestic or sexual violence.

Since its inception, CFJ has been proud to bring this program, at no cost to families, to a growing number of children and teens. Program participants are from the communities of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. Since 2017, 332 youths have engaged in CFJ’s Elizabeth M. Pfriem’s Pathways to HOPE and Camp HOPE programs.

CFJ Program


Pathways to HOPE program engages children and youth ages 7-17 (and beyond) year-round who have been impacted by domestic and sexual violence. Our vision is to break the generational cycle of trauma by offering pathways to hope, healing, empowerment, and opportunity.

We build a HOPE-centered community by engaging children and youth through Camp HOPE America – Bridgeport (our evidence-based trauma informed overnight summer camp), affinity groups (focused on art, STEM, community activism, outdoor/nature activities, mindfulness, post-secondary empowerment) and trauma informed clinical services.

All programs are provided at no cost to children or their families. We offer a pathway for children and youth to believe in themselves, in others and in their dreams.


Pathways to HOPE vision is to build a future where:

All are seen

Voices are heard

Choices matter

Collaboration is a must

New paths are explored

Wrong things are made right

HOPE is given

Pathways – Program Highlights (October 2023)

To date, we have 120 youth ages 7-17 participating in our Pathways to HOPE yearlong engagement program.

To date, 30 (of the 43) have been actively involved in our summer program for 3-5 years. We believe that prevention is a long-term investment.

To date, we have 4 campers who have become HOPE Counselors and HOPE Leaders.

  • arts and crafts mural at camp hope

Want to Be a HOPEgiver?
Become a HOPE Mentor!

Hope Mentor Engagement

We are looking for passionate and committed individuals with special skills and talents to offer small and large group mentoring sessions as well as to provide positive support and guidance throughout the year.


Mentors are a vital part of creating a HOPE-centered community. Our program provides the critical pathways for children and youth to achieve their life goals while exposing them to knowledge and experiences associated with art, community activism, nature, college prep, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and strategies to increase mental health and resiliency.

Through our Pathways program, we can change the future of children that would otherwise very likely be subjected to lives of perpetuated violence, incarceration, substance use, and other adversities.

We know that higher hope children and youth are more optimistic about the future, have stronger problem-solving skills, and develop more life goals. In addition, hopeful children and youth are less likely to have behavior problems, experience psychological distress and have improved self-regulation, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.

These children and youth also report better interpersonal relationships and higher school achievement success in the areas of attendance, grades, graduation rates, and college going rates.

HOPE Mentors – Do You Want to Be a HOPEgiver?
We are looking for passionate and committed individuals with special skills and talents to offer small and large group mentoring sessions as well as to provide positive support and guidance throughout the year in the following areas below.

Creative Expression 

Performing Arts 

Arts & Crafts 

STEM Activities 

Outdoor Adventure


Health & Wellbeing

Community Activism  


Career Pathways

Resume Writing 

Job Interviewing 

Leadership Development

Mentor Recruitment Priorities
Community partners that can facilitate mentoring groups on and off site.
Adults with specialized talents to facilitate skill development group sessions that focus on art, community activism, STEM, outdoor activities, postsecondary success, mindfulness, and leadership development.
Adults that can provide ongoing positive role model support and guidance during mentor groups and activities to foster personal growth and healthy connections.

Expected Outcomes
increased HOPE scores
improvements in self-regulation, esteem, and efficacy
consistent child and parental engagement
improved school performance
increased interest in college and vocational programs
increased knowledge of a variety of career options
improved emotional health and well-being

National Outcomes – Impact of Mentoring
Source MENTOR National

Youth connected to mentors are:
55% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school.
78% more likely to volunteer regularly.
90% more interested in becoming a mentor.
130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

For more information about becoming a mentor, please contact Sasha Collins, Associate Director of Pathways to HOPE, at (203) 334-6154 Ext. 155.

collage of students doing activities and enjoying nature at camp hope

CFJ Program

Camp HOPE America-Bridgeport Experience

Camp HOPE offers children and teens who have been the primary or secondary survivors of trauma the chance to reclaim part of the childhoods they lost through a fun and transformative program focused on helping them foster newfound hope and resiliency in their lives.

Camp HOPE campers engage in a week of summer camp on the grounds of Camp Hi-Rock, an accredited overnight camp operated by CFJ’s partner, the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA. Beginning in 2019, our campers also engage in a year-long Pathways to HOPE program which includes social activities, mentorship and opportunities to engage in community and special events.

During the summer program, campers engage in an evidence-based curriculum while enjoying a week of traditional overnight summer camp experiences such as swimming, camp fires, hiking, sailing and navigating high-ropes courses.

The Camp HOPE curriculum employs a sensitive, trauma-informed approach to building hope, resiliency and a sense of empowerment in the young campers. This engaging curriculum, which draws on peer-to-peer interaction, is intended to help campers overcome adversity while improving their outlook for the future. It also helps our campers feel less isolated in their trauma as they bond with other young survivors.

How can my child participate? Pathways to HOPE Referrals

Contact Sasha Collins, LPC, Associate Director of Pathways to HOPE and Clinician, at or (203) 334-6154, ext. 155.

HOPE as a Result

  • Girl wearing helmet doing outdoor activity in camp hope

“Camp HOPE was the safest place I’ve been to….We talked and shared things we could never talk about at home. I remember feeling so safe, seen, and supported.”


The Camp HOPE model works


A peer-reviewed clinical study published in the September 2016 addition of the journal Child and Adolescent Social Work found the Camp HOPE model provides a successful intervention for children exposed to trauma and domestic violence.

The study focused on more than 200 children who had participated in Camp HOPE programs in Oregon and California. Researchers reported these campers left their programs with a greater sense of optimism, gratitude, social intelligence and self-esteem. This is hope personified. Camp HOPE changed the way the children see themselves and their futures.

CFJ’s Camp HOPE program doesn’t end when the buses return. Our campers work with our team throughout the year to build on the bonds they have established with fellow campers and discuss ongoing issues in their lives. In addition, the program engages campers with CFJ and community mentors as they participate in community and educational events. The long-term goal of this ongoing interaction is to keep increasing hope in the lives of our campers, while expanding the skills they have learned to overcome adversity.

We also work with our campers and their families regularly to build on the self-esteem and sense of hope that came from their summer experiences.

YOU can give HOPE

How Your Gift to Camp HOPE America-Connecticut can help.



provides a few items off the Camp HOPE wishlist for camper supplies.


will help pay for camp activities and supplies.


will underwrite the costs of providing a camper with a fully-stocked camp trunk packed with gear, products and transportation costs


provides a fully-funded campership for a deserving child who has experienced trauma

Make a donation in support of Camp HOPE by specifying Camp HOPE Bridgeport as the honoree when making a donation.

Volunteering at Camp HOPE


CFJ seeks summer volunteers/interns of all gender identities between the ages of 20 and 24 who are willing to spend two weeks working with our Camp HOPE professional staff and campers on the grounds of Camp Hi-Rock.


Please note: An additional ten hours of training is required before departing for Camp HOPE and our volunteers must be available for those sessions as well. To learn more about opportunities to volunteer at Camp HOPE, please contact CFJ’s Director of Education & Community Engagement Amanda Posila at