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