Five Minutes With ... Nadine Bernstein

Cary Newcomers Club helps transplants feel at home

CorrespondentMay 7, 2013 

Cary has famously grown into a place where everyone seems to be from somewhere else. And throughout that massive growth, the Cary Newcomers Club – founded as the “Welcome Wagon of Cary” in 1978 – has helped transplants find friends and fun in their new home.

Club President Nadine Bernstein didn’t join right after moving here from Westchester, N.Y., but she’s glad she found a place to meet people, help her community and try new activities. Bernstein, 68, is a retired teacher and social worker who moved to Cary four years ago. She spoke with us about the club and its role in the Cary community.

Q. How did you get involved with the Cary Newcomers Club?

I had a friend in town, and family in the area, prior to moving here, so I didn’t seek it out at first. Then a friend mentioned some of the activities that Newcomers had to offer, and I’ve been involved ever since. This is my third year and my second as president.

I love that it embraces newcomers at every age and stage, and people who have sought it out as a way to meet people and become involved in the community have only spoken favorably about the organization. At this stage of my life, to still make special friends is a testament to both the club and the area.

Q. What are some of the organization’s activities?

We have approximately 21 different kinds of activities, and they run the gamut from crafts, to dining, book groups, sports and games: Mahjong, Bunco, lunch and a movie. There’s TGIF, where couples usually meet on Fridays. People pick and choose what they like to do. “Chat a while” is good for new people and greeters because it’s more intimate, and the meetings can be quite large.

Each year we choose a local charity and we hold different events throughout the year to raise money for that charity. This year, we’re focusing on Children’s Flights of Hope, which helps children get to wherever they need to go to get medical treatment. We also have the volunteer connection, where members work with a food pantry, Ronald McDonald House and other charities.

Q. What is your membership like?

There are about 200 members, and I think we have people from 15 countries. There’s a whole variety of ages, and there are people who have been here a long time and continue to participate and people who are new to the area, and people who have left and come back.

Anyone can join. We have people from Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh. It’s easy to find a niche once you get here.

Q. Has membership decreased with the real estate crash?

We have grown each of the past three years since I’ve been here. But I have heard that they had as many as 400 members during the boom years, so I guess it has gotten smaller with fewer new people moving in. But there’s still a lot of momentum and interest.

Q. Why do people join?

Most of them have come to seek both friends and activities. Some are new to the area, but some have been here a while and want to make more friends or try something new. We have a lot of people who maybe have retired and have come here to live near their family, but they also want to make friendships and share activities with people in their own age group.

Q. Where and when do you meet?

We meet the first Wednesday of every month at the Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church.

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