Midtown: Community

Temple Beth Or helps change lives in Guatemala

Cindy Schneider couldn’t get the image out of her head of the family of eight she had just met sleeping on the floor. She was on a mission trip 10 years ago with her daughter’s high school and had spent the day meeting Mayan families in rural Guatemala.

“I had trouble falling asleep in my warm hotel room that night, because I knew that they were huddled on the dirt floor without any blankets on the cold night,” said Schneider of Raleigh. “I couldn’t pretend that I hadn’t seen the way that they live and knew that I had to do something.”

After taking several more trips to Guatemala and learning more about the culture, Schneider realized that many children were unable to attend the public school.

“Many of the families couldn’t afford the school supplies because they are supporting a large family on $2 per day, uniforms and even shoes for their children’s feet that the schools required, and the children would get turned away,” Schneider said.

She learned that for $150 a year, she could give a child what he or she needed to attend school. So she started the Nueva Generacion foundation to help Guatemalan families.

Schneider approached the rabbi at her temple, Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, and the congregation joined in her effort, including sponsoring many children and taking two mission trips. Nueva Generacion has provided scholarships to 125 children and even opened a preschool.

“It’s amazing to think that every morning, 14 little preschoolers get to go to school because of our efforts. Getting an education really changes their whole life,” Schneider said.

Because housing is a big concern for many families, the organization is now building small huts for sponsored families and recently completed its third house.

Temple Beth Or was recently awarded the Union for Reform Judaism’s Consultation on Conscience award for its involvement with Nueva Generacion and Schneider’s efforts. The award is one of the highest honors given to a Reform congregation.

“When we sit in Raleigh and hear about terrible things happening around the world, it is easy to feel helpless,” Schneider said. “But I’ve seen firsthand how even one person sponsoring a child can make a huge impact on their life.”

For more information on Nueva Generacion, visit www.nuevagen.org.

Singles worship night

Hope Community Church will hold its monthly singles worship night from 7 to 9:15 p.m. Friday, May 10, at the church, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh. Singles of all ages will share a potluck meal, socialize and enjoy live music. Nationally known speaker and author Dr. Kevin Snyder will share about what it means to “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” For more information, call 919-532-0620, email singles@gethope.net or visit facebook.com/hccjourney.

Soup on Sunday

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church will have its monthly Soup on Sunday meal at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, May 12, at the church, 4801 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. The meal is free, and everyone is welcome. As part of a partnership with The Healing Place of Wake County, church volunteers pick up residents of the men’s and women’s shelters and bring them to the church on the second Sunday of each month for food and fellowship. The May meal is roasted chicken breast with sweet Caribbean sauce, yellow rice, marinated corn salad, dessert, iced tea and lemonade. For more information, call 919-787-0544 or visit www.stmarksraleigh.org.

Fairmont barbecue fundraiser

The Haiti Work Team will hold a barbecue plate fundraiser catered by Clyde Cooper’s Barbeque from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, May 17, at the church, 2501 Clark Ave., Raleigh. Tickets are $9 for adults, $6 for children 6-12 and free for younger children. Plates include chopped pork barbecue, potato salad, cole slaw, hush puppies, tea, lemonade, water and a dessert. For more information, call 919-832-3316 or email at info@fairmontumc.org.

Holy Trinity spring fest concert

Holy Trinity Church will present its Spring Fest concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at the church, 2723 Clark Ave., Raleigh. The concert will feature music from church member Milton Bliss, who is the former assistant director of the music department and director of choral activities at N.C. State University. The concert will also include performances by the church’s chancel choir, soloists and instrumental trios. The concert is free and open to the public, and child care will be provided. For more information, call 919-828-1687.

Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at nrnews@newsobserver.com. For events, please give us two to three weeks’ notice.

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