Project HOPE offers support for Fresno State students facing difficult times


Courtesy of Diana Karageozian

Project HOPE participates in Hunger and Homeless Awareness week outside of the University Student Union in November 2022.

By Jazmin Alvarado, Reporter

Project HOPE is Fresno State’s case management department, which helps students with whatever physical or mental health services they may need. Its mission is to remove any barriers that can impede students’ focus, making academic success easier.

H.O.P.E. stands for health, opportunity, prosperity and education. It is open to all students, regardless of their major, cultural or financial background or legal status. The department serves international students as well.

“We’re here to give students relief and also to look at ways they can solve their problems. From there, we keep our clients close until whatever they’re going through has kind of started to resolve and then they can take it from there,” said Diana Karageozian, a clinical case manager for Project HOPE.

Karageozian said Student Affairs is meant to advance student life at Fresno State.

She emphasized that Project HOPE isn’t only for emergencies. If students need a snack, a place to rest, somewhere to charge their phones or even just simply someone to talk to, they are always welcome to visit its offices. The department is located at the Student Health and Counseling Center.

It also offers case management for students.

Case management at Fresno State tackles specialized cases that may require more assistance than other offices can provide.

The case management team is composed of professional social workers, coordinators, clinical case managers and interns from the Social Work department.

“Essentially, if a student expresses to anyone on campus that they are going through a difficult time, typically faculty, advisers or other people on campus will refer them to us because most of the people on this team are social workers,” Karageozian said.

Project HOPE aims to provide individualized support to every student.

“The thing about our team at Project HOPE is that we realize the needs may vary depending on the student. Every person on the teams’ goal is to help the student get through the many circumstances they may go through throughout their academic career,” said Carmen Carrera, a graduate coordinator at Project HOPE.

According to Karageozian, working in Project HOPE can be challenging because the staff never knows what a student may be going through or how serious a situation is.

Although some cases are more difficult than others, she said social work can be a very rewarding experience.

“Seeing students get the help they need and achieve whatever they’ve set out to achieve is a great feeling. I have so many success stories, and all of them are great. Just this past week, I had students graduate who experienced some really hard things during their time here,” she said.

Carrera also recognized the most fulfilling aspect of her job.

“Definitely seeing how resilient, capable and self efficient students can be. I’d also say seeing how students realize that they are deserving of care and respect and seeing how some of the students use the positive impact they receive from Project HOPE as motivation to help others,” Carrera said.

According to Sade Johnson, a graduate coordinator, Project HOPE is donor funded, so the department encourages students to share their stories so more people will contribute.

“We want to continue to help students but we cannot pour from an empty pot, so we need your stories to reflect how Project HOPE makes a difference at Fresno State,” Johnson said.

Project HOPE is open through the summer and is also available to incoming new students. Students can stop by the Student Health Center Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. or call (559)278-4849 to access their services.

“I want to remind students that they pay for this service. It comes out of your health fee. Take advantage of it whenever you need to,” Karageozian said.