HOPE worldwide: UAA’s chance to make a difference

HOPE worldwide, founded in 1991, connects people with local volunteering opportunities. The Anchorage chapter branched out to take the form of a UAA club last year.

HOPE worldwide members Erin Schroeder, Mari Gorash, Artie Gorash and Symonne Caraway. Photo credit: Mary Ryan.
HOPE worldwide members Erin Schroeder, Mari Gorash, Artie Gorash and Symonne Caraway. Photo credit: Mary Ryan.

“Volunteering and service is the universal love language,” member Artie Gorash said.

Though he had been part of other chapters for over a year, Gorash joined the campus group when he started the nursing program at UAA. 

“A lot of the time we think that little acts of service mean nothing, but to the people you’re helping, it means everything,” Gorash said.

Artie Gorash’s spouse, Mari Gorash, is the president of UAA’s HOPE worldwide club.  She was part of Simple Truth, a Christian campus club that decided to shift to a community-service focus. The club changed into an extension of HOPE worldwide, which was affiliated with the church that some of the members attended.

The club is faith-based, meaning that it is a response to the Biblical call to serve those in need. However, this does not mean that members must be Christian.

UAA’s HOPE worldwide volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club, the Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis shelter, or AWAIC, Alaska Food Bank and Beans Café. The group recently partnered with the Age and Disability Resource Center.

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“We work a lot with kids, but we also wanted to reach the older people in the community as well as people with different abilities,” Mari Gorash said.

HOPE worldwide serves the community in a wide variety of ways. One of the free services that HOPE worldwide provides through the Age and Disability Resource Center is installing handrails in houses. This is for people who want to go back home from the hospital but can’t because they don’t have the tools to live safely.

“There are people who call us who just need help cleaning up or they just need company,” Mari Gorash said. “The goal is to be ready to serve those in need at all times.”

Mari Gorash, who is pursuing a human services degree said, “My favorite part is feeling like, even if it’s just something small that we do, that it makes a big impact on the people that we’re [helping].”

HOPE worldwide has also given her experience working with people.  

“With human services, I don’t think it will be easy. I think there will be some really crazy things that happen, but it’s good for me to see what helping people in this capacity looks like,” she said.

She also enjoys working with children and empowering people to make a difference in the lives of others.

Erin Schroeder, who works for a nonprofit organization called Gateway to the Arctic Camp, had also previously been involved in a different chapter of HOPE worldwide. She joined UAA’s group in October of last year when she moved to Anchorage.

“[My favorite part is] just being able to work alongside people who genuinely want to help in whatever way is needed… It’s a really good way to build friendships with people because we are working together towards a common goal,” Schroeder said.

Artie Gorash said his personal goal for the group was “to just help people see how the thing that they are missing in their lives is helping other people… a lot of the time in society we are so self-centered. The thing that we need in life is to serve others.”

The group meets at Boys and Girls club and AWAIC throughout the week as members are able.

Coming up next for HOPE worldwide is participating in Box Build at the Alaska Food Bank on March 16, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The group is also hosting Art Night on March 29 from 7-9:30 p.m. in the Den. This is a social event meant to connect people with artistic talents on campus. UAA students can contact Mari Gorash to sign up to showcase their work.

For more information visit the HOPE worldwide website, Facebook page or contact Mari Gorash at (907) 791-0151.