News Column

Dinner and concert to raise funds for Circles of the Heartland

June 21, 2014

By Gary Demuth, The Salina Journal, Kan.

June 21--Dinner and concert to raise funds for Circles of the Heartland

By Gary Demuth Salina Journal -- Saturday, June 21, 20148:51 AM

Maria Padilla always had a dream of opening her own catering business and perhaps a restaurant.


Maria Padilla always had a dream of opening her own catering business and perhaps a restaurant.

But this mother of five wasn't confident with her English and figured it was a dream that wouldn't come true.

Then in 2013, the Salina woman enrolled in the first class of Circles of the Heartland, a local organization that helps families find a way out of poverty and a poverty-based mindset to achieve economic stability.

"I was just by myself before that," she said. "I thought no one cared about me."

After completing a course last year from May to September, Padilla has grown in confidence and is developing a plan to start her own business soon.

A major boost for Padilla will be the opportunity to cater a Circles of the Heartland fundraising event: "Circle of Friends: Great Food, Great Music for a Great Cause" on June 28 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 901 E. Neal.

The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will feature an authentic Mexican dinner of enchiladas, rice and beans prepared by Padilla, followed by a 6:30 p.m. vocal concert from the Heart of America Men's Chorus from Wichita.

Admission to the meal and concert is $25 a person. Tickets are available through Wednesday at Trinity United Methodist Church or Consumer Credit Counseling, 1201 W. Walnut.

A silent auction, too

A silent auction will begin at 3 p.m. at the church. Items include theme gift baskets, pet items, children's games and books, Pampered Chef kitchen basket, Kansas State University baskets, an autographed Salina Bombers football, a Mary Kay cosmetics basket and banners from K-State, the University of Kansas and Wichita State University.

Proceeds from the dinner, concert and silent auction will go toward Circles of the Heartland programs, said Ruth Brouddus, a member of the Circles of the Heartland Guiding Coalition.

"The program keeps growing, and we want to keep it going," she said. "It's definitely been a community effort."

Now in 60 communities

Circles of the Heartland is part of the National Circles Campaign that has been implemented in more than 60 communities in 23 states. The program matches those in poverty, called Circle Leaders, with community volunteers, called Allies, who help them move from limited resources to greater financial and often emotional stability.

The Kansas campaign began in 2008 in Newton. Circles of the Heartland, the Saline County group, is the sixth Kansas community to join and is located at Consumer Credit Counseling.

The organization recently celebrated its first year of working with participants and Circle Leaders, and the result has been impressive, said Shelly Martin, Circles of the Heartland coordinator.

"There are a lot of success stories," she said. "One gal got her associate degree, and one is getting her bachelor's degree. One is getting ready to go back to school and another is wanting to start her own business."

Humbled by the support

The program currently serves 18 local families from its first two classes and will begin a new class Sept. 4.

Martin said she is humbled by the outpouring of support for the Circles of the Heartland program, both by community allies and those in the community at large.

"I'm very thankful we have a good base of community members who understand our purpose and want to reach out and help us," she said.

The rest of her life

Martin said Padilla has come a long way since she enrolled in the program.

"Her dream was to own her own business," Martin said. "She's been working at the Kitchen for Hire at the Masonic Center with Joan Barhydt, who has been a mentor for her, and she's very excited about doing this."

Padilla said the fundraiser will be a great opportunity to show off her cooking skills with native Mexican dishes.

"This is not only a good opportunity now, but for the rest of my life," she said. "I couldn't have done this if (Circles of the Heartland) didn't find resources for me and set me on the right path."

Circle 'round

WHAT: "Circle of Friends: G Great Food, G Great Music for a Great Cause," a fundraiser for Circles of the Heartland

WHEN: 5:30 p.m.June 28

WHERE: Trinity U United Methodist Church, 901 E E. N Neal

ENTERTAINMENT: 6:30 p.m. vocal concert, Heart of America Men's Chorus, from Wichita

COST: $25 a person. T Tickets are available through Wednesday at T Trinity U United Methodist Church or Consumer Credit Counseling, 1201 W. Walnut

SILENT AUCTION: 3 p.m. at the church

INFORMATION: For more information on Circles of the Heartland programs and classes, call 827-6731, or look them up on Facebook.


(c)2014 The Salina Journal (Salina, Kan.)

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Source: Salina Journal (KS)

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