Where it all started….

How About H.O.P.E. was started in 2015 by Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw of Rock Island, Illinois. With the help of LOVE Girls Magazine and their partnership with Royal Neighbors, Mikhayla started the campaign with a sticker project.

In 2018, Mikhayla won the title of Miss Iowa under the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program, and used How About H.O.P.E. as her platform of choice. She competed for the title of Miss America 2019. During her year of service, she partnered with local mental health and suicide awareness organizations. Through this, the mission of HOPE expanded throughout the states of Iowa of and Illinois. We are now a 501c3 charitable organization continuously working towards a more competent and understanding society.

HOPE’s Mission:

“How About H.O.P.E.”, which stands for “helping others & providing encouragement”, is a campaign designed to create and sustain conversation surrounding mental health and suicide. Through sharing stories, artistic expression, advocacy, and awareness, we can create a knowledgeable and understanding community. Your voice and your story matter.”

Core Values:

  • Advocacy
  • Awareness
  • Artistic Expression

H.O.P.E. Board of Directors

Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, Founder and Director

Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw is a mental health and suicide awareness advocate. As someone who previously battled depression and suicidal thoughts, Mikhayla created the campaign “How About H.O.P.E. – Helping Others & Providing Encouragement” to inspire change in our mental health culture through sharing personal stories and encouraging compassion.  She has impacted over 20,000 students and adults with her mission and speaks vulnerably and honestly about dealing with mental health conditions and suicidal thoughts.

She knows the importance of speaking her truth, because “there is something so powerful about sharing your story with the hope of helping someone share theirs.”

She currently works as a television talk show host for WHBF-TV in the Quad Cities.

Simone Collins, M.S. Ed., tLMHC, LPC, NCC, CTP, CGP, President

Simone Collins, resident of Rock Island, IL and long-time friend of Mikhayla, founder of How About H.O.P.E., has made it her life’s mission to be a mental health advocate, particularly for individuals from minority groups. At the age of 17, she realized that it was her calling to pursue a career in the mental health profession due to her mother’s and her own mental health diagnoses. She was also inspired by her paternal grandparents to advocate for individuals from underrepresented and underserved populations due to the adversities they endured with receiving their education as African American youth throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. 

In May 2016, Simone graduated from Truman State University with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Statistical Methods. In May 2021, Simone graduated from Western Illinois University-Quad Cities with her Masters of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is currently a temporarily licensed Mental Health Counselor (tLMHC) in Iowa, a temporarily Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in either Social Justice or Ethnic Studies after becoming an independently licensed counselor in both Illinois and Iowa. 

Currently, Simone is an Outpatient Mental Health Counselor at Heart and Solutions, LLC and a  Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist (PRN) at the Robert Young Center-Community Support Program Group Homes. Simone is certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid. She is also a Certified Trauma Professional (CTP) and a Certified Grief Informed Professional (CGP). She is a member of Chi Sigma Iota, Psi Chi, Black Mental Health Alliance, NAMI Greater Mississippi Valley, and American Counseling Association and its subdivision Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD).

Along with her passion for being a mental health advocate, Simone enjoys listening to music, reading, watching television, eating, exercising, going to church, traveling, attending community events, and spending time with her friends, family, and Godchildren.

Brittany Pernell, Advocacy and Community Engagement Director

Brittany Pernell was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. It is her purpose and passion to work with adolescents/teenagers who are at risk of falling into to the juvenile or adult justice system. She cares deeply for youth from this kind of background because she understands that society has often given them little to work with and that can have a lasting impact on their success in life but it is not their fault and they deserve the chance to advance just like anyone else.

She is currently a graduate student at Western Illinois University in the Counselor Education program to become a licensed clinical mental health counselor. Right now, she is completing her internship at Youth Services Bureau of Rock Island county. Brittany also works part-time at
Robert Young Center as a Mental Health Rehabilitation specialist. She graduated from Iowa State University with her Bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services with a youth emphasis.

Brittany is a proud member of the historically Black sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She also is a new member of Chi Sigma Iota Professional Counseling Honor Society, the American Counseling Association, and the Black Mental Health Alliance. Brittany is also certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid and volunteers as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sister of the
Mississippi Valley.

Some of the things she loves outside of the professional world are spending time with family and friends, Harry Potter, Marvel, Star Wars, watching movies/tv shows, listening to music, and admiring beautiful things (art, photography, jewelry, music, people, etc).

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