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Apopka

It's time to celebrate 50 years of HOPE

Apopka's Hope CommUnity Center has been a beacon of light for immigrants and working poor families

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It was 1971, and “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.

And now, 50 years later, it's time to celebrate those accomplishments.

On Saturday, from 2pm to 5pm, the HopeCommUnity Center will kick off their 50 Years of Hope celebration with a Community Cook Out at their South Apopka location (800 S. Hawthorne Ave., Apopka, FL 32703).

This year-long celebration is more than just a look back at the past 50 years of service. It’s also a look forward to 50 years more and beyond. 50 Years of Hope is about “Mas!,” an opportunity to embrace the future, to look forward with intention and imagination, as we invent new and better ways to grow and serve. “Mas!” is “More!” And Hope is more than the past, Hope is also the future.

Hope CommUnity Center is dedicated to the empowerment of Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communities through Education, Advocacy and Spiritual Growth. They exist to serve and cultivate self-determined communities through personal, social and communal transformation. Their vision is to be the premier center of hope and empowerment for Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communities.

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.  But it all started with community.

Happy Birthday Hope CommUnity Center!

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