Volunteer Event of the Week: Students Volunteer for Beacon of Hope’s “HOPEx”

Alyssa Wilson ~ Editor in Chief

Photo of students at HOPEx event. Students from left to right (Lorraine Upton, Olivia Upton, Elizabeth Richards, Stacy Gallahan).

A new and beloved fundraising event in the Lynchburg Area has become Beacon of Hope’s “HOPEx” event. Some Lynchburg students got the opportunity to volunteer at the event, and were rewarded with a free entrance to the show. 

Beacon of Hope is a nonprofit organization that helps local high school students in going to college. In 2022 the organization had its first “HOPEx” fundraising event, Beacon’s personal twist on a Ted Talk. 

The event requires months of preparation from its staff, but on the day of large events like this one, organizations often need a few helping hands. 

Several University of Lynchburg Bonner Leader Program students elected to spend their Friday night volunteering at the event, first welcoming VIP guests to the pre-events mixer and then ushering guests to the Historic Theater at the Academy Center of the Arts, where the event was hosted. 

Olivia Upton, sophomore and Bonner Leader volunteered for the event after the Director of the Bonner Program, Tasha Gillum told her it seemed like something she would enjoy. “It was right up my alley, as I have an interest in education myself,” Upton said. 

HOPEx was comprised of speakers from all over the country talking about their “whys” and how they ended up where they are today. Many speakers spoke about accessibility to education and the importance of the work that Beacon of Hope does in the community. 

“I really admire the work that Beacon of Hope is doing and enjoy that they take the time to highlight the impact they’ve made and the people who have been influential in making that happen,” said Upton, who is taking what she learned from the talks to her own site, Camp Kum-Ba-Yah. 

Elizabeth Richard is a first-year Bonner who is currently exploring different sites before settling with a permanent one, so the talks helped her to consider her own why as well. 

“I was interested in what they had to say. I was also interested in learning more about Beacon of Hope. I’m grateful for the opportunity to volunteer and can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Richards. 

Richards decided to participate because she heard about all of the other community members that would be in attendance and was interested in some of the speakers as well. 

Beacon of Hope’s HOPEx is slated to be an annual event and happens around the same time every year. 

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