People all over the world are going through incredibly difficult times affecting their mental, physical and emotional well-being. The level of uncertainty we are dealing with is unprecedented, but now more than ever, it is crucial to ensure that all communities have proper support.
Having compassion for others is as important as showing it to ourselves. While there are plenty of resources available to most US populations, some people are starving for basic necessities. “Ayudando Latinos A Soñar” (ALAS) is a Latino-focused non-profit organization assisting asylum seekers, families, children, and farmworkers with much-needed services.
“Ayudando Latinos A Soñar” gives back by providing services in the areas of mental health, cultural arts, immigration and social equality advocacy, and education.
The Bay Area, California non-profit organization, prides itself in being a resource for communities in need. Its Founder and Executive Director, Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, has an inventory of credentials. She has a doctorate in Education, close to a decade of social work experience specializing in Latino mental health and childhood trauma.
Hernandez-Arriaga works in mental health with San Mateo County’s Pre to Three High-Risk Team, Clara County Juvenile Hall, Tang Social Services team at the University of California Berkeley, and she was part of the adjunct faculty at Santa Clara University. In addition, her research work on psychological, emotional, and traumatic surrounding experiences that affect undocumented youth in Latino culture.
Hernandez-Arriaga’s work, however, goes beyond the work that affects clients’ mental balance. She is dedicated to supporting the causes that lend a voice to the young and old in communities that are short of resources. The immigrant farmworks’ population is often overlooked. Advocates like Belinda and “Ayudando Latinos A Soñar” commit from Half Moon Bay to Montara to help North Coast farmworkers. They do the work by placing a spotlight and provide the services that assist with COVID-19 response and prevention, personal protection and safety gear for the workers, food donations for those that are in need, and enrichment programs that include a collaboration with the University of San Francisco to promote learning and reading.
The appreciation for culture and the arts is demonstrated in the diverse, multicultural programs offered by Ayudando Latinos A Soñar. El Ballet Folklorico of Tonantzin is one of several examples of how this organization nurtures its clients. Its dance program provides instruction on Mexico’s regional dances offering students an opportunity to connect with the Latino culture and community. Classes don’t stop at dancing. There are violin, guitar, trumpet, which are currently being offered virtually.
Organizations like Ayudando Latinos A Soñar are a necessary bright spot in the journey of the forgotten. The farmworker population greatly contributes to society’s abundance. The men and women working in farms across America deserve access to resources that offer an opportunity to improve their lives and celebrate their rich culture.