Victoria Orindas had planned to spend her summer shadowing doctors and preparing to become a doctor, but the coronavirus pandemic changed all that.

When the virus shut down classrooms, the UCF student turned her attention to help the most vulnerable in other ways.

What You Need To Know

  • Victoria Orindas is this week's Eveeyday Hero

  • Student is helping homeless, hospital workers, nursing home residents

  • More Everyday Hero stories

Orindas organized a group of other UCF students to make life a little better for the homeless she saw at Lake Eola.

“I was just here seeing them, observing the struggles, and realizing that if not me, then who? And if not now, then when?”

The student volunteers frequently stuff care packages containing snacks, water, and hand sanitizer and take them into Lake Eola park to hand them out to the homeless.

“I was just here in downtown realizing that, it’s not something that can be changed overnight but I have to do something about that.

“I can at least use the time and energy that I have, and to show compassion and empathy. They have fear, they do not know what is going to happen the next day.”

Even though Orindas is taking four online classes this summer, she and the student volunteers also find time to make masks for local hospital workers and to tutor students who have lost their normal way of learning. They have even written letters to nursing home residents who can longer see their families in person to protect themselves from contracting coronavirus.

"We just wrote lots of cards and gave it to them so they can know that we’re here with them.”

Orindas said she knows the physical risk involved with approaching people she doesn’t know but that helping others is worth it.

“You’re always exposed to the risk, but I feel that in this case, the purpose is bigger than that," Orindas said. "This is a blessing in disguise.”

She wants to use the extra time the pandemic has given her to give hope to others in a challenging, uncertain time.

“It’s just knowing that other people know there’s a support system – that tomorrow is going to be better," Orindas said.