In the early 1970ʼs, “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.
“We didnʼt do anything by ourselves. People have come together to help themselves!”
DREAMS COME TRUE…
Hope CommUnity Center has always had a service-learning focus, striving to empower the community to develop its own potential, working side by side to create positive change. With this approach and the hard work of many people, Hope CommUnity Center has continued to grow and thrive for more than 40 years. In 2007, after decades of dreaming, planning and raising funds, Hope CommUnity Center opened its doors to its first permanent home. Today, the beautiful and functional buildings are the visible signs of the Ministryʼs presence and desire to bring together diverse people and cultures, working for peace in the Apopka community and the world.
SECOND APOPKA CAMPUS
In late 2015, very sadly the Apopka Family Learning Center had to cease operations. AFLC had been a sister organization for many years offering needed services to the low-income families of the Apopka area. In February 2016, thanks to a surprise $250,000 donation from Disney and a substantial contribution from the Sisters of Notre Dame deNamur, Hope embraced the opportunity to open a second campus in South Apopka where the Ministry first began. With Hope’s continued expansion, this 7200 square foot building and six acres of land are both welcomed and needed. Schedule a tour of our centers and the community. Call 407.880.4673.
THE SUCCESS IS SHARED BY MANY
Hope CommUnity Center receives financial support from individuals and group donors, local churches, and local, state, and national foundations. Additional support comes in the form of work done by volunteers of all types and from all walks of life. The Sisters like to say, “We didnʼt do anything by ourselves. People have come together to help themselves!”