VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK: Ali Hopson donates more than an hour of his time – The Vicksburg Post

VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK: Ali Hopson donates more than an hour of his time

Posted at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 21, 2022

This week’s Vicksburg Post Volunteer of the Week is Ali Hopson, who volunteers with Teens United and Supper on the ‘Sip at United Way of West Central Mississippi. Hopson is a Registered Dietitian at Merit Health River Region, KPC Promise Hospital and co-owner of Nutrition Matters, LLC. She serves on the Vicksburg Convention Center Advisory Board, the Ole Miss Alumni Association Board of Directors, is a past president of the Official Women’s Club of Mississippi, and is a member of Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is married to Senator Briggs Hopson and they have three children.

How were Teens United and Supper on the ‘Sip born?

Teens United was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many teens still needed to get volunteer hours for clubs, but restrictions limited what they could do. One day my daughter said she thought she could get “an hour” to walk our dog. She and I then realized that something had to change. We met Michele Connelly and a few other teenagers. They heard about United Way and its partner agencies and started discussing creative ways teens from local schools could help.

Souper sur le ‘Sip was born after many brainstorming sessions with great people who support United Way. We were looking for an exciting new way to help fund the campaign and wanted it to take place near the Mississippi River. The Old Mississippi River Bridge was suggested as the location and after nine months of planning, the dream came true.

How long have you been volunteering with United Way’s Supper on the ‘Sip and Teens United?

I started volunteering with Supper on the ‘Sip in 2018 and Teens United in 2020.

What is your best memory of volunteering?

My favorite memory was when I stood on the deck the night of the first supper on the ‘Sip in 2018. Knowing how many people had given so much of their time, and seeing how the community turned out to support the event, was truly a Solidarity Live Moment.

What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering?

I would tell them to say “Yes” to that thought. Your community needs you and there are many ways to help. Because Centraide works in partnership with many local organizations, their staff know the needs of our community. Let them know what your interests are and they’ll connect you with an agency you’ll love!

What are some of your responsibilities with Supper on the ‘Sip and Teens United?

My primary responsibility for Supper on the ‘Sip is to help oversee the event. When questions arise, I help Michele and the staff answer them and we meet often to make sure everything is on schedule. Much of the work behind the scenes is done by our committee chairs and this event could not happen without them.

My main responsibility with Teens United is to be their cheerleader. Teenagers discover agencies and plan their own projects. I’m here to encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and lead.

What have you learned from volunteering for these events?

The hashtag for Teens United is #morethanjustanhour and I often think about it when I volunteer. You give of your time but you gain compassion for others, develop new friendships, and end up wanting to give more. Volunteering with Centraide has made me a better person and I am very grateful for this opportunity.

If there is a volunteer who should be featured, please submit their name and contact information to [email protected]

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