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In Case You Missed It! - Hope Horizon 2023 Gala

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

Hello Hope Horizon EPA friends and family,

We had a wonderful time at our gala on Sunday night and wanted to share with you a few photos and a glimpse of what our students and staff spoke about during the program in case you missed it. There was tremendous energy and our students showed great resilience and flexibility as we dealt with sound issues. We were honored to have David Canepa, our local congressperson, start the evening off with an award for our many years of service.

At the gala we introduced our Open Door Circle, a sustaining donor program that helps us plan, project and remain committed to the whole child for the whole way. Many of you are already sustaining donors who have laid the foundation and enabled us to share God’s love to multiple generations. Your generosity has been invaluable and we look forward to welcoming more friends like you into the Open Door Circle.

We are grateful for each of our guests, hosts, sponsors, volunteers, partners, auction item donors and most especially for our students who all contributed to a successful and fun evening. Thank you!

Hope Horizon EPA staff

A reflection from our emcee and current Hope Horizon EPA high school student, Jesus:

Watching the students, it reminds me of when I was growing up in EPA. I heard about Hope Horizon from my mom's friend and my parents thought it would a good idea for me to go to the spiritual program. I didn't really want to go at first. I didn't know anyone. In middle school I felt a bit trapped and alone. Middle school was a hard time. But the first time I went to the spiritual program, I met a friend. He was funny and welcomed me and made me feel like I belonged. Five years later, he's one of my closest friends.

Elementary school students Daniela and Juan Pablo interview academic program staff Waniya and Mona:

Daniela and Juan Pablo: Hello Everyone, my name is Daniela and I am Juan Pablo. We are students at Hope Horizon. Tonight, we will be interviewing Miss Mona and Miss Waniya, two staff at Hope Horizon.

Daniela: Miss Waniya and Miss Mona, can you share with us your position at Hope Horizon and how long you have worked here?

Waniya: Thank you both, my name is Waniya, and I am the assistant director of programs for academics at Hope Horizon. I have worked here for the past six years.

Mona: I’m Mona and I’m the program manager for our elementary academic’s program at Hope Horizon. I’ve been here for 2 years.

Juan Pablo: Miss Waniya and Miss Mona, what is the best part of the work you do at Hope Horizon and why are you inspired to do it?

Waniya: The best part of the work I do at Hope Horizon is supporting the students of East Palo alto. I love making sure the students feel seen, heard and encouraged. I am inspired by the students at Hope Horizon who are continuing to question, inquire and discover new possibilities around them while having fun.

Mona: The best part of the work I do here is supporting our students’ learning and seeing their growth throughout the year. I love the moments when they make connections between what they learn at school and their own lives. I’m always inspired by their determination to keep growing and have fun.

Daniela: Miss Waniya and Miss Mona, what are three things that represent you and who you are?

Waniya: I would say that the three things the represent me are faith, community and honesty.

Mona: My top three are creativity, exploration and family

Juan Pablo: Miss Waniya and Miss Mona, what do you think makes Hope Horizon unique.

Waniya: I think what makes Hope Horizon unique is the simple fact that we embody the definition of unique. We are one of a kind and we are unlike any other organization in East Palo Alto. We are able to partner with other organizations in the city to give multiple wholistic opportunities to our students like taking swim lessons at the local YMCA.

Mona: Furthering what Ms. Waniya shared, I believe the collaborations with other East Palo Alto programs brings an added richness to what we provide for our students at Hope Horizon. And our holistic approach allows us to not only focus on academics but on the spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being of each of our students as well. That mission is shared between all our programs.

Middle school student Leilani interviews elementary school student Brandon

Leilani: Hello everyone, my name is Leilani, and I am a student at Hope Horizon. Tonight, I will be interviewing Brandon who is also a student at Hope Horizon. Brandon, how old are you and what grade are you in?

Brandon: I am six years old, & I am in first grade.

Leilani: Brandon, what class are you in at Hope Horizon and who is your teacher?

Brandon: I am in the first-grade class and Miss Lani is my teacher.

Leilani: Brandon, when was there a time that you had to be powerful and strong?

Brandon: When I am reading and doing homework.

Leilani: Brandon, what are you thankful for at Hope Horizon?

Brandon: I am thankful for store day because store day is where l can buy plushies, Squishmallows, dinosaurs, candy and chips.

Leilani: Thank you for sharing, Brandon, I think you are brave and strong. And I am thankful for you. Thank you everyone, for your support at Hope Horizon.

Staff member Jon interviewing middle school students Ethan and Friaco

Jon: Hi everyone! We are super blessed and are super grateful to have you all here with us tonight! Tonight, I have the opportunity to share with you all two students that I have gotten to know very well over the past two years. So, without further ado, guys, would you like to introduce yourselves?

Friaco: Hi I’m Friaco, I am 13 years old and I’m in 7th grade.

Ethan: I’m Ethan, I am 13 years old and I’m in 8th grade.

Jon: So, I’ve heard that you have been a part of Hope Horizon for a long time, since even before my time, so that being side, can you guys tell me what programs you guys are a part of and how long you have been attending programs here?

Friaco: I have been in Middle School Spiritual and Academic programs and I have been coming here since I was ‘wee small’.

Ethan: I have been participating in the Middle School Spiritual Programs and Robotics, I have been in Academics before and I have been coming to programs since I was ‘wee large’.

Jon: Sounds like you guys have a lot going on here! With all of the things that you guys are doing, what would you say was the highlight of this year?

Friaco: For me it was going to Hume and making new friends with people I wouldn’t expect to make friends with.

Ethan: For me it was having fun at Hume and being apart of all of the fun stuff that we did there. Though sacrifices were made.

Jon: For those who didn’t know, because of your support, we were blessed with an opportunity to go to Hume Lake, where we were able to participate in a lot of fun activities like a box sled where Ethan hurt his back going down a massive hill. But though we had a lot of fun this year, we also learned a whole lot. What would you guys say was the most important thing that you guys learned this year?

Friaco: I think that for me it was that we should treat and love our neighbors like ourselves.

Ethan: For me, it was that God is going to be there for you no matter what.

Jon: Those definitely important lessons that we should definitely learn and consider in our own lives. With all of the things that you have learned and done, how has Hope Horizon impacted you the most?

Friaco: It was the chapels at Hume and the lessons that we listen to about the book of Ephesians.

Ethan: For me it was definitely the chapels and Hume, but I think being a part of Jon’s program has been really impactful on me.

Jon: Well, I assure you I don’t pay them to say that. But I am grateful to you guys for that. I am super blessed to have you as my students and you guys definitely make my job here a very fulfilling one. And thank you to you all because without you, connections like this would not be possible!

From our High School students, Larissa and Jeremiah

Larissa: Hi Everyone, my name is Larissa, I am in 11th grade, and I have been a part of Hope Horizon since I was in 5th grade. In that time, I participated in five programs and was recently an intern for Camp Hope Horizon. These programs have provided me with a fun and safe community. They have also given me knowledge, strong connections with friends and staff, and new opportunities to experience and learn.

Jeremiah: My name is Jeremiah, and I am in 12th grade. I am graduating this year and was recently accepted to Sacramento State University. I will most likely be moving there in the fall. I have attended Hope Horizon since I was in the 6th grade. I have been a part of 7 different programs. Through this non-profit I have found solid friendships and support, especially with the people on this stage. These friendships I thought would never last. But now, these people are some of the most important people in my life. But now, these people are some of the most important people in my life. Thank you all for supporting Hope Horizon. It is because of people like you that my childhood was safe.

Larissa: As you can see, Hope Horizon has provided us with many opportunities and strong, supportive relationships. As an intern, my job was busy and chaotic with camp. But mostly, it was fun and meaningful because I was able to give back to the students at Hope Horizon in the way I was supported. I look forward to more leadership opportunities and I am constantly thankful for Hope Horizon and it’s impact in my life.

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