Imagine feeling unsafe in your neighborhood.
Imagine not fitting in with your peers.
Imagine being discriminated against because of the color of your skin.
Imagine experiencing food insecurity.
Imagine encountering language and cultural barriers every day.
Now imagine having a place to go where you know you’ll be ok.
Imagine connecting with others who understand what you’re going through.
Imagine being accepted.
Imagine being fed.
This safe, inclusive space and community is no longer the product of someone’s imagination. It is an important part of Estamos Unidos Moravian Ministry. Translated “We Are United,” Estamos Unidos’ main focus is to present God’s love and mercy to our Hispanic siblings in Winston-Salem, NC’s Southside neighborhood. One way they do this is through their program for teenagers.
“Our teen program started because many of our families expressed the need for an inviting place for their teenagers to gather. They often feel confused, out-of-place by their bi-cultures and peers, and thus, very vulnerable to making wrong choices,” said the Rev. Angélica Regalado Cieza, founding pastor of Estamos Unidos.
While coming together to talk was the first step, sharing a meal quickly became equally as important. Rev. Cieza continued, “Sitting around a table and eating creates a different space than a lecture type of environment. Our youth have so much to share. But many times they don’t find a place where they can voice their opinions, feelings, concerns, and questions. Having a meal together has opened that opportunity to be present with one another.”
Thanks to your generous support of the Moravian Hunger & Thirst Fund, in March 2022 Estamos Unidos received a $1,000 grant. This grant enabled them to provide food (mostly pizza, “they love pizza!” exclaimed Rev. Cieza) to 15-22 teenagers one Saturday a month in 2022.
In addition to the physical and spiritual food youth received during group gatherings, they also participated in a Latino meeting with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to talk about the necessity of bilingual personnel. Afterward, they went out to eat (pizza!) to discuss and share more of their experience at the school meeting.
Rev. Cieza told us that most of Estamos Unidos’ families experience food insecurity, so sharing a little food brings the students a lot of joy.
To learn more about Estamos Unidos Moravian Ministry, visit our website here.