ELENA'S HOPEFULL PROJECT
- What is your project/chapter/club?
The HopeFull Project’s mission is to help those in need in the community by providing them with food and toiletries. We do this by creating toiletry boxes filled with items such as shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloths, socks, combs, deodorant, razors, and body wash. The boxes also include sandwiches, applesauce, canned tuna, health bars, snacks, and water. Furthermore, each box contains an inspirational quote inside. Since most homeless people are alone, they often feel abandoned, unloved, and hopeless, but these quotes help the homeless know that they are loved, as well as inspires them to never give up and follow their dreams.
- Why did you choose to do this project? What inspired you?
I started this project two years ago by creating a club at my school: Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I chose to do his project because I was always impacted by the amount of poverty in the Miami community, and I wanted to do something to help them. Joshua’s Heart Foundation has taught me that even if others think you are too young, or too inexperienced, if you really believe in something, you can achieve it. It might not be easy at first, but if you stand up for what you believe in, you can make it happen.
- Why do you care? / Why is it important to help others?
I care because I have seen firsthand the difference small actions can make in people’s lives. I vividly remember a day when I was distributing sandwiches to some of the homeless in Downtown Miami, and I had asked one of them what his name was. He quickly started crying. Soon afterwards, he told me that that was the first time in twenty years that someone had asked him what his name was; his name was John. John greatly inspired me to continue to help those less fortunate because it just come to show how much they need our help, and how anything you can do to help goes a long way. I believe that everyone in the world should have the opportunity and the right to have basic access to water, food, and a place to call home. When distributing the HopeFull boxes to the homeless, I have met such amazing and inspiring people. For instance, I met a homeless man once who loved to draw. He showed me all his amazing sketches, and talked to me about his love of art. Another person I met loved to sing, and he sang to us a few of his favorite songs. To me, it is amazing to think how someone so good at art or music could be homeless. Seeing such incredible and wonderful people living on the street truly motivates me to continue helping them so that they can get out of poverty and pursue their goals in life. It is the joy I feel when we get together to help others that really encourages me to make a difference in the lives of other people. You should never underestimate the difference you can make in other people’s lives, because no matter how small the action, it makes a big difference.
- What is your current impact, volunteer hours, new volunteers recruited, money raised for JHF, money raised for your project, items donated etc.?
Since starting the project, I have collected over 5,000 items for the boxes, made around 2,100 sandwiches, and have distributed over 600 boxes to those in need in the community. I have recruited volunteers at both my school and from Joshua’s Heart Foundation. I have also collected and donated 66,000 lbs. of food to families in need. In September 2017, I collected and distributed over 1,000 outfits for Mexican earthquake victims. I also continue to support Joshua and the foundation where needed.
- Where or to whom have you donated items?
I have donated items to the homeless in the Miami community, specifically in the downtown area. I have also donated some of the boxes to Sisters of Charity Homeless Shelter, as well as Miami Rescue Mission.
- What do you need?
We need non-perishable food items, toiletries, and monetary donations.
- Any media, articles, photo link, website link, etc. About you and your project/club/chapter?
Anything else you would like to include.
I believe we should all help our community, no matter how small. Service is a part of and will always be a part of mine and my families life.
- Awards received?
- Gold Presidents Volunteer Service Award
- YSA Global Youth Council
- Joshua’s Heart Honorary Service Award
- Joshua’s Heart Super Heroes of Service Award 2016
- Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation “I Make A Difference” Award
Social media pages links:
- Facebook: Joshua’s Heart Foundation