Service, Giving, Building
By Jennifer L. Butz
Unitarian Universalists value service to self, fellowship, and community. Indeed, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel includes those three elements in its mission statement (uufsma.org). It is a fellowship generous in spirit and action.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende
Sunday, Jan 22, 10:30am
La Aldea Hotel
Ancha de San Antonio 15, Centro
By 1995, the San Miguel UUs found that they were large enough and generous enough to begin support programs for local charitable causes. It began in 1995 with a grant to Feed the Hungry, an organization that provides one hot meal every school day and nutrition training to school kids and their families throughout San Miguel’s rancho communities. Other organizations joined the portfolio of social action and service over the years, including Centro Infantil San Pablo, Mujeres en Cambio, CEDESA, the Center for Global Justice, Ojalá Niños, Libros Para Todos, and more.
Bob Hesdorfer, a longtime San Miguel resident and former UUFSMA president, noted a decade ago—and it likely is still true today—that “the Fellowship’s proudest accomplishment has been the success of Jóvenes Adelante, a group founded in 2001 by Helen Morris, Virginia Wheelwright, Betse Davies, Florence and Joe Ershun, Peggy Bell, Marge Zap, Bob Hesdorfer, and other UUs, to provide … university … scholarships to local high school students with top grades but little or no financial means.” With this support, more than 200 students have been served, and another 68 are pursuing with excellence their academic careers.
Today, UUFSMA contributes at least 50 percent of its funds to social action programs. Indeed, our financial contributions have increased dramatically in the last five years. For example, in 2012, UUs in San Miguel provided nearly US$14,000 to six local NGOs. These NGOs included Jóvenes Adelante, Mujeres en Cambio, CASA, Escuela de Educación Especial, CEDESA, and Ojalá Niños. In 2016, the same fellowship provided grants and scholarships worth US$24,971 to 10 NGOs, benefiting a range of San Miguelenses from the very young to the very old and quite a few with special needs and priorities in between.
The membership of the UUFSMA contributes more than money to the challenges of our community. Members contribute time, ideas, passion, and enthusiasm. It is impossible to estimate just how valuable the overall impact of this service and investment has been. In the act of service and investment, the members of the UUFSMA have benefited from the deeper connections they make across San Miguel: the joy of celebrating milestones in the lives of individuals, families, and communities; being there for each other when things become challenging; and weaving interconnectedness in this lovely place we’ve come to call home.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende has a proud history. Its success is a combination of action, care, compassion, and service. Join us on Sunday … any Sunday … at La Aldea Hotel at 10:30am and see for yourself! Watch this space next week when we’ll preview where we hope to grow into the future.