At Hope CommUnity Center, we recognize the value and importance of our volunteers. Their endless compassion and dedication in transforming lives are one of the many drivers to our mission as a service-learning community. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to serve over 6000 people across Central Florida.

This month, we are featuring Hayley Canal, an aspiring environment reporter, and Journalism and Sustainable Development double-major at Appalachian State University. Some of her hobbies and interests include documentary filmmaking & photography, cooking, playing the piano, and painting. Hayley, originally from Central Florida wanted to devote her time off-campus to something purposeful. When asked why she was most interested in volunteering at Hope, she says,

“I’ve known about the ecological and social injustices that have impacted Apopka for decades…This year I followed the news on DACA, ICE, and family separations closely. I want to make an impact in a more direct way.”

In July, Hayley began supporting the Communications Department and working closely with the Director of Communications, Nicole Franco. Her assignments included the development and execution of marketing collateral, event photography, and establishing relationships with the community. Before she left to go back to school we had a chance to sit down with Hayley to reflect on her experience at Hope.

“Since volunteering at Hope, I have felt welcomed and realized the many issues that directly impact my community. I don’t see this being a short-term experience, as I feel it’s important to not just insert yourself into a community and then disappear. I plan to be more involved when I am back in Central Florida. On campus, I am a part of a grassroots movement and plan to take back all I have learned at Hope to help it grow.”

When asked what piece of advice she would give to incoming volunteers, she said,

“Don’t be afraid to reach out because everyone is very welcoming. HCC is a volunteer-supported community and any skill you have will be valid here. As a growing community, there are ways to bring something new to the table.

For volunteer opportunities, click here.

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.