Nedra Roney's heart reaches time zones beyond what her hands can actually touch. Her generosity is currently focused on the highlands of Guatemala, where the Rose Education Foundation is educating nearly 1,000 poverty-stricken children.
Her fascination with Central America began as a teenager, when Nedra's father sent her to Guatemala on a youth trip. The rich culture was never far from Nedra's thoughts, even thought she spent her 20s in the United States building her multi-level personal products business.
In 1995 when Nedra had more time to devote to travel, she hired Randy Ellsworth to guide her through Guatemala on a historical and religious tour. Randy had served an LDS mission to Guatemala and married a Guatemalan. For years he had devoted weeks of his time to providing free medical services to Guatemalans. While Nedra and Randy where in Guatemala, Nedra felt an undeniable spiritual calling to help.
"She knocked on my door early one morning and told me she'd had a dream that if she didn't help these people, she was going to be accountable," Randy says. With Nedra's resources and Randy's knowledge of the country, the Rose Education Foundation was born, building the first school in Guatemala in 1997.
Now they educate rural elementary students who would otherwise never have the change to learn to read. Education is the only long-term solution," Randy says. "When I provide medical help, I can only change one person at a time. But when you educate a person, wan entire country may benefit."
Nedra Roney's hope is that these children can become educated and pursue meaningful careers. Then they will expect the same for their children, and generations will have been changed by one child's education.
This article was originally published under the title "Nedra Roney" in Utah Valley Magazine.