Adulthood 101 with Louis Hopfer
Five years ago, Louis Hopfer became inspired. He had time available in his schedule and a passion for community involvement. He was a man looking for a project. At this time Louis connected with SAY. Confident that he enjoyed working with young people, Louis hoped to share his skill set and perhaps a bit of life experience. “I’m an example of how to look at the world and make the most of what you have.” After exploring volunteer opportunities offered by SAY, Louis was placed as a volunteer at Tamayo Village. He began volunteering once a week. It took time for Louis to establish himself as a regular face around Tamayo, but Louis was consistent. As time passed, some residents began talking to him more and more. He says these conversations “opened the door” to bigger questions, to life questions, to discussions that got everyone thinking. It was at this time that Louis began to recognize how essential and successful his consistency was in this environment. He made a personal commitment to volunteer weekly for the next 5 years. And that’s just what he has done.
Every Wednesday Louis can be found at Tamayo, usually giving what he refers to as “general advice” or what he coined “Adulthood 101″. He enjoys these discussions, and is happy to talk about almost everything. He even enjoys the occasional healthy debate. He has become both a familiar face and a member of the Tamayo and SAY community.
Over these 5 years Louis has also been able to facilitate many activities with the youth. One trip is particularly memorable: visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, followed by a hike up to the Twin Peaks neighborhood. He says that what made this trip so special was watching the youth interact with these new places. He remembers how each youth looked at the art, connecting and engaging with it in their own unique way. It was a time that Louis felt he was able to connect the youth to something bigger, to show them possibilities, and hopefully inspire them to become part of the larger community. He states, ” I still have some pictures from that trip, and whenever I scan through and I see them, I smile”. The past five years have been filled with holiday meals, opportunities for the youth to volunteer throughout Sonoma County, and countless thought-provoking conversations.
When asked what’s next? Louis is quick to respond, “I want to keep going!” With the opening of the SAY Dream Centeron the horizon, Louis is excited. He is excited for new volunteering opportunities, and to help facilitate more successful volunteer involvement. But perhaps even more so, he is excited for what this addition in the community will mean for the SAY youth.
On behalf of SAY, we offer our sincere thanks to Louis Hopfer for his commitment to service, and for being there for our youth when they need it the most.