Service Learning at Hope | It's more than volunteering!


Mission & History

Our Mission:

Sister's Ann disk misc 237Hope 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.

Humble Beginnings…1999_May_31_Sister_Ann_Group_Under_trees

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.

A Dream Come True…

Beginoctober25 154Hope 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, the Hope CommUnity Center opened its doors to its first permanent home. Today, the beautiful and functional building is the visible sign of the IMG_0680Ministryʼs presence and desire to bring together diverse people and cultures, working for peace in the Apopka community and the world. Schedule a tour of our center and the community. Call Michael Cantillo at 407.880.4673 Ext: 227.

A beautiful mosaic created by the community adorns our entryway.

A beautiful mosaic created by the community adorns our entryway.

The Success Is Shared by Many!

Hope CommUnity Center receives financial support from individual and group donors, the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, 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!”

Staff, volunteers and Board Members

Staff, volunteers and Board Members