It has been 50 years since Hope was founded, thanks to three Roman Catholic nuns’ dreams and hard work. Over the years, the different programs and services that now support the Apopka community and surrounding areas of Central Florida have come to life. But even before the Education department was fully structured and established, education was already a fundamental pillar for Hope CommUnity Center.
Hope CommUnity Center’s newly appointed Director of Access to Education Department, Ivis Greenwall, arrived in the U.S. in 2006. She recalls Hope being a relatively smaller organization than it is today. Although there wasn’t an established Education Department, they assisted her and many others with after-school tutoring, teaching her English, and helping with homework.
Many years later, Hope counts on an Education Department that most recently changed its name to Access to Education, and it’s filled with staff and volunteers ready to help! Within this new department, there are many programs the entire community can benefit and learn from, such as:
- Adelante Caminantes
- College and Career Access
- After-school tutoring for elementary students
- MOMS group
- ESOL classes
These programs used to be divided into three departments, but they all focus on getting people to access secondary education or technical schools. So, naturally, they merged with one mission in mind:
We are committed to education as a path to the learners’ integration as full participants in their local communities, emphasizing empowering youth and adults in their educational journeys and raising critical consciousness about the circumstances that affect their realities.
At HCC, we are very proud of our volunteers and thankful to our Donors, Partners, and Contributors for their efforts to help us impact people’s lives daily. Every year, each of these programs results in a positive change for many members of our community:
- Adelante Caminantes – Approximately 150 students a year.
- College and Career Access – 40 student scholarships & walk-ins.
- After-school tutoring for elementary students – Approximately 50 students a year.
- MOMS group – Approximately 40 students a year.
- ESOL classes – Approximately 140-150 students a year.
HCC’s Education program also assists about 20 parents a year in registering their kids for school. Currently, our Education department alone helps about 500 people annually, and our goal will always be to strive for Más!
Some programs have registration dates, and others accept people throughout the year. You can contact HCC or come to the offices to learn about the dates and requirements for each program. If you wish to volunteer for any of these programs, visit the website and apply for a volunteer position. (https://www.hcc-offm.org/volunteer/)
“It’s a really rewarding job.”
The Director of the Access to Education Department, Ivis Greenwall, mentions that this job has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. It has nurtured her love for the community, helping others, and self-love. Caring for others has become part of her self-care routine. She explained that classes at Hope create a safe space and a sense of community that empowers everyone to bring something to the table. As a result, everyone can learn from each other, advocate for their beliefs, and speak up.
Ivis’s fondest memory at Hope reflects how much HCC empowers its participants and lets them in on a secret: You are capable of anything if your heart is in the right place and filled with Hope! Ivis was a high school student who barely spoke any English. Still, she volunteered at Hope. She and another classmate helped an elderly man study for the citizenship test he was eligible to take in Spanish. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to read or write in Spanish, since he didn’t have access to education in his native country. Nevertheless, they were so proud that her eyes lit up when she spoke about how this man had passed his citizenship exam. Ivis happily remembers this moment because it was when the doors opened for her to become an advocate for education for this community and Central Florida. Hope made her feel empowered, and she wishes to replicate that for others. Even though you might not have all the resources or the tools, you can still make a difference and add value to your community!
If you want to learn more about our education programs, visit our website https://www.hcc-offm.org/education/ or contact us today.