Eight years ago, Ameika Malcolm became a volunteer at the HopeMarket. She learned about the opportunity while standing at a bus stop waiting for a bus. A woman who was volunteering at the market struck up a conversation letting Ameika know that it was a great place for community connection.
That’s all she had to hear.
“I’m a very community-oriented person,” Malcolm said. “It aligned with my personal values. Supporting each other as a community. We cannot survive without each other no matter how independent we are.”
She had just arrived from Jamaica and was feeling a little depressed. She wasn’t working and she missed home and her friends. She found her way to Hopeworx and began interacting with people and volunteering at the HopeMarket in exchange for household wares and clothing.
Today, Malcolm is starting a new journey, helping the HopeMarket take on its next shape and vision as its Community Development and Integration Coordinator.
“I came around full circle,” Malcolm said with a laugh. “I was meant to be here. It’s been a journey.”
That journey, which started as a volunteer at the market, led her to her first paid job at Hopeworx working as a CST Specialist. She remembers being invited to the CST staff meeting so the team could meet her and decide whether to accept her on the team. They did! Later, when an opening arose, Malcolm took an administrative and data entry job at Hopeworx.
Her most recent role at Hopeworx was Coordinator for CST which she did for six years. Malcolm praised the organization for its friendly, welcoming environment – a place to be yourself and to grow.
“They create an environment for you to choose which direction you want your life to go in,” Malcolm said. “It could be inside or outside the organization. They always encourage. You are able to get comfortable and confident.”
Malcolm is excited about her new role and the opportunity, along with the steering committee and HopeMarket members, to take the market to the next level. She wants to build on many of the great partnerships and activities that are already taking place there.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Malcolm said. “We want to try to elevate and improve on the values before I came along. A sense of community. Everybody brings something to the table. Use people’s strengths and seeing where they fit. To help each other. To live our best life.”