A Message of Hope

November 08, 2010

Students welcome the Hope Communtiy Center's youth group to the Rollins campus.

During its monthly all-team meeting on Thursday, October 28, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) welcomed the Hope Community Center’s youth group for dinner, followed by a presentation by Winter Park Institute Scholar Edward James Olmos.

Olmos led a powerful conversation emphasizing the need for all races to work together, explaining how diversity in our society works to everyone’s advantage.

"One the one hand we have youth who are our hope. On the other are the elderly who represent wisdom. Without wisdom, the hope is hopeless. Without hope, wisdom dies,” said Olmos.

“It was so inspiring,” said Natasha Quinonez, a senior at Apopka High School who dreams of attending Rollins next fall. “He was amazing, so confident.  He talked about life, people, the world and the future.  I was very fortunate to get to hear him.”

The Hope Community Center is located in Apopka, Florida, an area that hosts a significant number of farm worker and immigrant families, most of whom live in historically and economically underserved conditions. This community-based organization fosters development through a variety of programs such as citizenship classes, a parenting program, tutoring, as well as numerous others that meet the basic human needs of this marginalized population.

 “The goal [of the event] was to amplify youth voices that are in need of college access,” said Director of Office of Multicultural Affairs Mahjabeen Rafiuddin. “Sister Ann (one of the original founders of the Hope Community Center) and I were able to introduce some of the youth to our interim Provost Laurie Joyner, as well as President Lewis Duncan.”

For the past three months, OMA, the Office of Community Engagement and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Joe Siry have been communicating with community partners in Apopka with the hope of building stronger future collaborations between Rollins faculty, staff, students and organizations such as the Hope Community Center.

Addtionally, Crummer student Sam Barns (3/2 Program; Class of 2012) this year screened his film, Illegal Dreams, during the Global Peace Film Festival. His film focuses on the experiences of both documented and undocumented immigrants, specifically from the Sin Fronteras Youth Group, who are working toward raising awareness about the DREAM Act.

I have also been working to raise visibility by emphasizing the intersections between photography, art and activism. To learn about my experiences check out my blog at creat2act.blogspot.com/.

For a full list of involved people, projects, and responsible groups check out the following wiki: wiki.rollins.edu/lakeapopka/index.php/Contacts#Additional_Apopka_Area_Contacts

If you would like to find out how you can get involved please contact Maria Desangeles, service learning coordinator at Hope Community Center, at mariadesangles@hcc-offm.org; Mahjabeen Rafiuddin at mrafiuddin@rollins.edu; Director of Community Engagement Micki Meyer at mmeyer@rollins.edu; or me, Anna Montoya, at amontoya@rollins.edu.

By Anna Montoya (Class of 2013)

Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
For more information, contact news@rollins.edu.

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