Photo by Nina Strehl

From the Hope CommUnity Center

The Hope CommUnity Center in Apopka is partnering with The Center Orlando to provide a FREE monthly mobile clinic every third Monday in order to offer HIV and HEP C testing to the community.

The Hope CommUnity Center’s mission is to be a service learning center dedicated to the empowerment of Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communities through education, advocacy, and spiritual growth. Thus, their partnering with The Center makes a lot of sense, with The Center existing to promote and empower the LGBT+ community and its allies through information, education, advocacy, and support.

The next mobile clinic will be held this Monday, April 19, 2021, from 10 am to 12 pm at the Hope CommUnity Center located at 800 S. Hawthorne Ave, Apopka, 32703.

For more information contact Victoria Alarcon at 407.880.4673 ext. 223, or through email at valarcon@hcc-offm.org.

The Hope CommUnity Center‘s history begins in the early 1970’s, when, “with hearts as wide as the world,” Sisters Cathy Gorman, Gail Grimes and Ann Kendrick came to Apopka to work with farmworkers and the working poor. These Roman Catholic nuns, members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, hoped to provide this underserved community with the resources needed to move toward social and economic justice.

First, they built community.

Sister Ann Kendrick likes to say that for the first couple of years, they were mostly just “hanging out” in the African American community of farmworkers and citrus pickers, getting to know the people and finding out what they really wanted. By working with the community rather than for them, the sisters served as catalysts for social change that came from the people. Over the decades, the ministry partnered with residents and local groups to address social problems such as illiteracy, lack of access to healthcare, and economic injustices. Along the way, they spearheaded the creation of six separate nonprofits, and literally, thousands of lives were changed for the better. And it all started with community.

The spirit and values which guides Hope CommUnity Center are gospel mandates. Love, hospitality, solidarity, and service are at the core of Catholic social justice teachings and as people of faith require us to offer a concrete response to the people who are suffering and to uncover the root causes of their life-threatening distress. HCC is committed to the deeper and difficult discussion about the root causes of this migration and the need to address the push/pull factors which influence the desperate decision of poor suffering people, especially children, to make this risk-filled journey. Hope’s spirit and values are reflected in all of our services with a vision of community transformation.

While The Center is all about promoting and empowering the LGBT+ community and its allies through information, education, advocacy, and support, how this non-profit goes about it makes them a key resource in the community. After the Pulse tragedy of 2016, President Obama called them the “Ground Zero for community healing”. It’s no wonder, as The Center offers everything from a resource guide (covering topics such as city and government resources, coping with stress, financial relief, food / nutrition resources, resources for youth and families, immigrant community resources, sexual assault and intimate partner violence, and legal assistance), to programs (including counseling, addiction and recovery, youth programming, senior programming, and more). They truly make “love your neighbor” a practical and lived mandate in word and action, in and with the community.

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