A woman who found acceptance and understanding in Goshen wants to help others find those same things, plus financial support for college.
Naomi Kramer, a 2012 Goshen College nursing graduate who came here from Jamesport, Mo., was raised Amish and is the first person in her family to complete a college education.
“There is nothing there for them,” she said of Amish students who want to continue their education. “That is why we started this. If their parents won’t help, I want to help.”
She said she could not have completed her education without the grants and financial help she received while in college. So she and others have created a fundraiser to fund scholarships for former Amish students who want to obtain a college education. She sees the effort as a way to “pay it forward” and help others in the Amish community who want to pursue educational support.
“I was the first one. I broke the cultural norm,” she said while at Goshen College Tuesday night. She said she became a nurse because she always wanted to help people.
“I thought nursing would be rewarding. It was always my dream and it led me to leave the culture.”
She explained that she attended her first year of college at Bradenton, Fla., but moved to Goshen College to be back in an Amish community. Fellow students in Florida did not understand her lack of knowledge about technology. But in Goshen, she said, she has felt more at home.
She said she and her cousin, Emma Miller, and William Troyer have been working on the project for some time and formally launched the fundraiser a few months ago.
A hog roast and community social is planned for Friday at United Christian School, 29522 C.R. 52, Nappanee, with proceeds benefitting the Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund.
There will be a whole hog roast with side dishes and desserts prepared by community members. The dinner is donation-based and all proceeds will be used to fund the scholarship, according to Kramer.
The scholarship group also wants to accept applications Saturday and announce the first recipient in early September.
Besides the hog roast meal, the scholarship organization is seeking items that will be used in a raffle-ticket giveaway. Those wanting to donate items or provide food items may contact Kramer at email@example.com or call her at 660-359-7261. There is also an opportunity to make a donation online.
Kramer has been working with businesses in the Nappanee-Goshen area seeking donations for the event.
“It’s been a challenge. We have gotten a great response in Goshen,” she said.
She said food is being planned for 400 people for Friday. Food will be served from 5 to 8 p.m.