Palmer Trinity rising senior Hope Morales is interested in going into the medical field so she volunteers at Baptist Hospital. She’s also president of the teen run organization, Knots of Hope, which donates money for bone marrow transplants and sickle cell anemia patients.
They also volunteer at Nicholas Children’s Hospital.
“Knots represents the bracelets that we make with the patients,” she says. “We have to go through certain certifications in order to be with the patients. It’s good to be exposed to these types of patients.”
The girls visit the Michael Fuchs Center at the Nicholas Children’s Hospital, which houses the hematology and oncology units.
“I really enjoy helping kids,” she says.
Morales has been president of the group for about two years.
“The organization was started by my sister’s best friend and she handed it off to me,” she says. “The founder was Priscilla Suzal.”
Knots for Hope members focus on raising funds through galas and silent auctions.
“We invite all the members, they invite their family members and friends,” she says. “It’s annual that we hold the silent auction. We’ve partnered with Coldstone and Chipotle. For certain nights that they donate 10 percent of what they make.”
She volunteers on her own at Baptist Hospital in the pediatric department.
“The main thing I’m supposed to do is be there with the kids if they need someone to play with,” she says. “Or if they need me to clean up the toys in the play center. It’s usually playing with them if the parents can’t be there.”
Recently she helped a three-year-old girl who wanted to do arts and crafts.
At Palmer, she was the SGA secretary her junior year and a member of the Spanish Honor Society and the Math Honor Society. Her involvement in Palmer includes being a student ambassador. As a student ambassador she gives tours to people who are interested in enrolling a child at Palmer.
As an incoming senior, Morales is able to help students new to Palmer as a peer counselor. Peer counselors work with the younger students to help them adjust to attending Palmer.
“They have a lot of fears that we experienced when we were younger that we help them get through,” she says.
She is working hard to help others as a member of Best Buddies.
“I’m personally connected because my aunt has a form of mild autism,” she says. “Recently, we just had the Best Buddies Ball. I brought her with me. We danced with her and some of the other buddies. It’s all about interactions and developing social interactions.”
As a Best Buddies member, she’s investigated having specific buddies assigned to Palmer students. While that hasn’t been successful, that quest led her to begin building a relationship with the WOW Center near the Kendall Soccer Park. That relationship with WOW has her working with their Special Olympics program. That may result in the creation of a club at Palmer to continue to help the Special Olympics at the WOW Center.
“I go every Saturday when they have training for their sports,” Morales says.
At Palmer, Morales plays volleyball and is considering playing soccer her senior season. Morales has been playing volleyball since she was ten years old. She has no plans to play in college because she wants to focus on academics and go on to become a doctor.
“I’m not sure what type of doctor yet,” she says. “I really enjoy medicine and I’m fascinated by everything that goes on in our body.”
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld