By Taylor Short

Killeen Daily Herald

Rafaela Jorge-Smith with the Temple of Ancient Wisdom in Copperas Cove is seeking donations to help a group of children attend school in poverty-stricken Mexico.

What began as a trip June 18-24 for anthropology work and to finish a class for priestess training to the Mayan temples in the state of Yucatán became an opportunity to help an entire village of children.

The temple is a non-denominational organization where members can learn from the values and traditions of many religions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Kabbalah and paganism, Greco-Roman, Native American, African and Egyptian beliefs.

In addition, the temple members organize trips and offer aide to sponsor families throughout Texas. This was the first trip outside of the country, Jorge-Smith said.

"We saw the Mayans in terrible poverty, they had no school supplies and the more we learned about them, the more we saw the need," she said.

She wanted to thank All Country Travel Agency in Copperas Cove for helping the group get access to the area. She is now working to transform the program into a foundation.

After several locals flooded the hotel where Jorge-Smith and company stayed, a conference room was set up where temple members began counseling and getting the addresses from the people.

The temple members adopted the children through their godmother program and now hope to return to the area with school supplies.

"We want to buy the supplies here because there is no place to buy stuff there within several miles," Jorge-Smith said. "I want to be able to have backpack with supplies for each one."

She said it could be up to $25 per child and is asking for any donations to help. Jorge-Smith said donations can be mailed to 315 S. First St., Copperas Cove, TX 76522 or dropped off at the temple.

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