• 55°

Spirit of Rowan: Sarceno gives back to Guatemalan children, pays tribute to immigrant women in book

Author, activist and nonprofit founder Maria Elena Sarceno said she felt led by God to help others in need.

The Guatemalan native, 36, graduated from Colegio San Martín de Porres, which is located in Dolores, El Petén, Guatemala. There, she obtained a degree to become an auxiliary nurse. Through the connection of friends, Sarceno said, she moved to Salisbury in 2006.

And though no easy feat, since then, she has written a book paying tribute to immigrant women like herself, and has put Salisbury on the map in Guatemala with the establishment of a nonprofit organization.

In 2012, Sarceno established a nonprofit organization aimed at helping underprivileged children in Guatemala. “El Ángel que viene del cielo,” which translates to “The angel that came from heaven,” aims to provide school supplies, health services and training sessions to the impoverished.

The organization, she said, allows generous people who care about the welfare of others to offer opportunities in areas of extreme poverty, like Guatemala. To date, she estimates, the nonprofit has touched 400 children and 100 adults.

Though Guatemala has the richest economy in Central America, more than 60% of its population lives in poverty and nearly half of the children there face malnutrition, according to the World Bank.

“(My nonprofit) means a lot. It is my mission here on Earth,” Sarceno said. “I am very happy when I see the angelic faces of children.”

Most importantly, she said, is “working with the heart and humility.”

In 2018, Sarceno published a book titled, “Una mujer moldeando su destino,” which translates in English to “A woman shaping her destiny.”

Sarceno said the book draws its inspiration from Latin women who, “with effort and great courage, bring dreams that at first seemed unattainable to reality.”

“Through this book, you will meet a brave woman full of faith, who trusts in her abilities and in the tools that God has made available to me throughout my life,” she said. “This work is also a tribute to immigrant women. I have the greatest respect for them because, like them, I too had to fight a thousand adversities to build a decent life for myself in the United States and offer my children a better future.”

It’s an easy read with just 10 chapters and 106 pages. The book has four editions, and Sarceno plans to release an English version one day. Proceeds from book sales are put into Sarceno’s nonprofit organization. The book costs $20 and can be purchased online at
angelquevienedelcielo.org.

Sarceno credits Salisbury with being a “quiet community full of opportunities,” with many generous people. Looking ahead, she aspires for both public and private institutions to improve their Spanish communication channels, particularly with information about COVID-19, education, health and business creation.

“The Latino community is very entrepreneurial, and we just want one chance,” she said. “Salisbury could achieve even more growth if it allows the Spanish-speaking community to have access to information in their language.”

In Sarceno’s spare time, she enjoys posing for the camera, reading, going to the gym and dancing at home. She also has two children,  Helen Melany, 16, and Raymond Steve, 11.

Her message to her children? “Never say you can’t.”

“God placed in my heart, even in dreams, the need to help those most in need,” Sarceno said. “At first, I didn’t know how to do it, but with the help of God and a lot of effort, little-by-little the doors were opened.”

Comments

Crime

Blotter: Oct. 27

Crime

Man faces charges in juvenile’s shooting on West Bank Street

Education

RSS gets clean audit, firm says no misappropriations of school funds

News

Rowan County recalibrates plans for Woodleaf Community Park after missing out on grant funding

News

NC NAACP elects first woman as president; Salisbury’s Black finishes third

Coronavirus

FDA OKs Pfizer vaccine for young kids

News

State news roundup: Davidson County parents charged in abuse of 6-week-old

Coronavirus

COVID spread down substantially in North Carolina, state data shows

Sports

ACC eyes new headquarters options outside Greensboro

Local

Rabid raccoon break-in forces Dan Nicholas Park staff to euthanize three animals

Business

Real estate agent takes advantage of hot High Rock Lake market, earns award for $10 million in transactions

High School

High school girls golf: Mustangs finish 4th in 3A state tournament

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office will hold fundraisers, grow beards to help Marsh family

Crime

Blotter: Four charged with contributing to neglect of minor

Business

Umami Downtown aims to bring bold flavors to Main Street

Education

RSS Board of Education discusses latest draft of school justice partnership

China Grove

Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council

Crime

Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing father

High School

High school football: Freeman a surprise weapon for Hornets

News

North Carolina’s $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations

Education

RSS makes masks optional, plans to revisit decision in November

Elections

Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly GOP host U.S. Senate forum in Gold Hill for registered Republicans only

Crime

Juvenile shot Saturday expected to make full recovery

Crime

Blotter: Homeless man jailed after throwing rocks through woman’s front door