Camp H.O.P.E. seeks to ignite children's aspirations for education, careers

May 10, 2012

A team of Arizona State University graduates and students will spend a part of the summer working to expand a nonprofit venture to bring a message about higher education to orphans and foster children.

Camp H.O.P.E. (Helping Orphans Prosper through Education) was started a year ago by Tina Hakimi and Neil Saez. Hakimi recently graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering. Saez is a senior in the same program in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of the ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Camp H.O.P.E. kids in Mexico Download Full Image

Looking to undertake a community service effort that would aid children, Hakimi contacted Saez in 2011 after learning that his father, Carlos Saez, was the founder of Friends of the Orphanages. The 25-year-old nonprofit provides funds, food and clothing for children at orphanages throughout Mexico.

Through Saez’s connection with Friends of the Orphanages, he and Hakimi were able to connect with orphanages in Mexico. By last summer they had recruited eight other ASU students to help them with Camp H.O.P.E.’s first project, putting on a camp for more than 100 children in an orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico.  The five-day camp focused each day on showcasing a different academic discipline or career field.

The Camp H.O.P.E. founders want to provide mentorship to disadvantaged youngsters “who may need the guidance of motivated college students to aspire to a career,” Hakimi says.
“Even though many of these children do go to school, the kind of education they are getting is not stimulating and it’s not encouraging them to think it could be fun or fulfilling to be a bioengineer, a political scientist or a journalist,” she says.

In Mexico last summer, Camp H.O.P.E. leaders got the children involved in educational activities such as “Project: Estado 29.” The youngsters examined orphanage buildings and identified things that posed problems, had been broken, or needed to function more effectively. Then the children worked with the camp counselors to devise solutions.

“Engineering is really about problem-solving, so our camp focuses on that,” Saez explains. “The solutions are generated from the children’s point of view, and they love that because they feel like their ideas are actually making a difference.”

The Camp H.O.P.E. counselors have continued to communicate with the children in Mexico. “It’s been cool to keep in touch with them. We have made some YouTube videos for them and have written letters to them,” as ways to continue mentoring the children, Saez says.

The team plans to organize camps for orphans and foster children in Arizona this summer. The members raised money for camp supplies and food this spring by organizing and hosting an auction and dinner.

“Tina and Neil are applying good engineering design principles” in devising camp activities, says ASU biomedical engineering assistant research professor Jeffrey La Belle, who is the faculty adviser to Camp H.O.P.E.

“With the critical situation we’re facing with K-12 funding support, it’s wonderful to see students taking a lead in figuring out a unique solution and being successful in implementing it,” La Belle says.

For more information or to get involved, contact

Written by Joe Kullman and Jeanette Bravo

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Softball contends for Pac-12 title against Cal

May 10, 2012

Click here for a listing of every Sun Devil Pac-10 title in all sports

The No. 2 Arizona State University softball squad (45-5, 17-2 Pac-12) will face off in Berkeley against the No. 1 California Golden Bears (48-3, 19-2 Pac-12), in a showcase of conference talent that holds the first ever Pac-12 title at stake. Download Full Image

The series will consist of three games, starting Thursday at 3 p.m. PT and continuing Friday at 3 p.m. PT and Saturday at 12 p.m. PT.

Sun Devil fans can follow the action on GameTracker and Twitter, which provides live statistics and play-by-play action. You can find the links to GameTracker on the softball schedule page here. Follow Twitter @ASUSoftball.

Since the Pac-12 champion is determined by winning percentage, whichever team captures two of the three games will earn the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Cal owns a 19-2 (.905) record while ASU is 17-2 (.895) after two games were rained out earlier in the conference season. The NCAA Division I Softball Selection Announcement will be broadcast on ESPNU on Sunday, May 13 at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET. 

The Sun Devils will join forces with the Golden Bears this weekend for Cal's inaugural StrikeOut Cancer Game on Friday. At that game, both the Golden Bears and the Sun Devils will don pink hair ribbons and encourage all fans to wear pink. Those fans who do wear pink will receive giveaways such as Silly Bandz and foam sticks. Since starting the StrikeOut Cancer initiative more than 10 years ago, the NFCA has raised thousands of dollars to support the fight against cancer.

Arizona State completed their fifth sweep of the conference season, the most under the direction of coach Clint Myers, with a three-game victory over the Utah Utes. The Devils racked up 32 runs over the course of the weekend, including seven home runs. Katelyn Boyd took the first-place spot in the record books for career doubles, notching her 56th against the Utes on Sunday.

California, which has been ranked No. 1 in both polls since week 7, was voted unanimously as the top team this past week. The Golden Bears are led by senior Valerie Arioto, another nominee for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, who is hitting .396 on the year with 21 home runs and 55 RBI. In the bullpen, junior Jolene Henderson is in front with a 28-1 record on a 1.10 ERA. Arizona State is 64-44 all-time against California, and last swept the Golden Bears in 2008.

Arizona State's 2012 senior class ranks third in the nation compared to all 2012 graduating classes. Here is the Top 5 breakdown:

1. Florida 212-38 = .848

2. Alabama 206-39 = .841

3. Arizona State 196-45 = .813

4. Missouri 193-46 = .808

5. Louisiana Lafayette 187-45 = .806

*updated May 7

Ten NCAA® softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as finalists today for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Katelyn Boyd has been chosen as one of the 2012 finalist. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Vote for Katelyn at