HOOP runs smoothly thanks to the support of awesome volunteers. But HOOP exists thanks to some very dedicated HOOP Heroes! So, to say thanks to some of our biggest supporters, we created the HOOP Hero Award.
The very deserving winner of our third award has been a HOOPster right from the start. He has supported HOOP in countless ways, whether it’s here in Arequipa or miles away at his home in the USA. Over the years, he has been back again and again. In fact, he is here in Arequipa right now – on his sixth visit to volunteer! So, we’re excited today to say thanks to Chris Kondas from Ohio – who is such a well-loved member of the HOOP family that we know him as ‘Uncle Chris’.
Uncle Chris is actually a bit of a volunteering veteran. In fact, before the HOOP founders were even born, Chris had racked up some incredible volunteering journeys – including to South Korea in the 1970s to teach English. Back home, during the 1980s, he set up programs for migrants from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to help them settle into the community and learn English. Chris, it seems, just can’t help helping people.
After volunteering here in Flora Tristán, Chris had such a great experience that he decided to bring his daughter and son-in-law and godson here. He even brought his awesome niece, Kenzie, who went on to become our volunteer coordinator and now lives here in Arequipa. When he’s not here volunteering, Chris keeps HOOP in his thoughts back home and has raised thousands of dollars to support the school in Flora Tristán over the years.
During his most recent visit, Chris built a brand new chill-out area on the office roof for the volunteers to relax and prepare for class. He even fitted it out with a canopy to shade us from the hot midday sun, and some great wooden furniture so now HOOPsters can become the hipsters they deserve to be.
All in all, as one of our best advocates, most dedicated volunteers, and generous-spirited fundraisers, we are very pleased to say, thanks Uncle Chris, you’re our HOOP Hero!