One of the many ways Hope CommUnity Center builds community and trust in Apopka is bringing together stronger, happier families and growing love and self-confidence in individuals.
SIN FRONTERAS YOUTH GROUP
Without Borders, Without Walls
Every Wednesday afternoon during the school year, the halls of Hope are full of life and laughter, as close to one hundred high schoolers gather for the weekly meeting of Hope CommUnity Center’s youth group, known as Sin Fronteras (Without Borders).
The program is directed by Nilka Melendez, Director of Youth Services, assisted by a number of staff members and AmeriCorps members who help facilitate the weekly meetings and the many other activities and service projects of Sin Fronteras.
The Sin Fronteras program gives teenagers a variety of opportunities to learn about self and others, make meaningful connections, and become leaders in the community…all while having a lot of fun!
The youth of Sin Fronteras also serve as a source of inspiration to everyone here at Hope. Mostly from immigrant families, these young people show such heart and determination as they find their way in a culture that is not always welcoming.
Many Sin Fronteras members and alumni have served by telling their stories to meetings of Hope staff, AmeriCorps, and service learning immersion groups, and they never fail to give their listeners a new, deeper understanding of the immigrant experience.
CRIANZA CON CARIÑO (PARENTING)
Nurturing Family Program
The Nurturing Family Program (Crianza con Cariño) is a program offered to families in our community twice each year here at Hope. The program is aimed at Hispanic families and is conducted primarily in Spanish.
Launched about ten years ago, the program consists of 12 sessions and meets one evening per week from 6:30 pm to 8:30 p.m. Dinner and transportation are provided.
Learning and Having Fun, Building Community
The Nurturing Family Program provides a quality program for all members of participating families. Each session begins with a whole-group gathering. After a welcome “dynamic” activity, groups are divided according to age: parents, teens, elementary, preschoolers, and childcare.
Within each group, a member of Hope’s Parenting Team addresses the topic of the day in a manner appropriate for the group’s age and family role. Activities for the parents promote improved communication between the couple and the use of consistent, effective parenting skills, leading to better relationships and a stronger sense of family unity.
At the end of each session, all the groups meet back in the big room to share impressions about the activity or topic and close out the evening together. A major benefit of the program is the creation of community, as families discover that they all deal with similar problems and situations and that they are not alone.
Developing Skills, Increasing Family Unity
Through activities both serious and light-hearted, the program promotes family values such as self-worth, empathy, discipline, humor, laughter, and fun as they work through the following topics:
The Path: Where are we and where would we like to be?
Family morals and values
Communication skills and positive discipline
Empathy and compassion
What we have learned
At the end of the 12 weeks, every family receives a certificate for their participation in the program and all are encouraged to remain involved at Hope in other programs and events.
The Nurturing Family Program is based on the curriculum designed by Stephen J. Bavolek, PhD. of Family Development Resources Inc., with our own adaptation for Hispanic culture.
To register, it is necessary to make an appointment with one of the coordinators: Nilka Melendez or Mariela Delgado. A coordinator will visit the family at home, interview the applicants, and stay in close communication with the family throughout the program.
Pre- and Post-Evaluations are conducted with the adults who attend the program. The team of instructors and assistants meet every week to evaluate the latest session and to prepare the next session. If any problem or need is detected, the team makes referrals to specialized programs and organizations in the surrounding community.
Hope CommUnity Center brings families and communities together and preserves traditional celebrations from back home.
Summer opportunities for the kids
Many low-income families have difficulty accessing food, education, and opportunities during the summer when kids are out of school. The Youth and Family Team offers a 150-child summer camp each year called Kids Camp that runs at Hope CommUnity Center for three weeks. They also offer a two-week camp at Brightwood Manor.
The Youth and Family team offers two Yard Sales per year to bring communities together, offer affordable household items to families, and fundraise for the Sin Fronteras Youth Group.
The Youth and Family team, along with Hope staff, donors, volunteers, and Notre Dame AmeriCorps members hosts its annual Christmas Toy Store to provide a dignified Christmas experience for Central Florida families.