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ALAS named Nonprofit of the Year

More accolades for vital organization

Jun 14, 2023


ALAS has again earned accolades beyond Half Moon Bay, this time as recipient of the Nonprofit of the Year recognition given by state Sen. Josh Becker and Assemblyman Marc Berman.


State Sen. Josh Becker and Assemblyman Marc Berman, who both represent the San Mateo County coast, have selected Ayudando Latinos a Soñar as the 2023 Nonprofit of the Year in their districts. The group’s name translates to “helping Latinos to dream,” and their support has proven vital for Coastside farmworkers in what started out as a nightmarish year.

In a press release jointly issued by the two state representatives, Berman said, “When the farmworker community in Half Moon Bay was devastated by a mass shooting in January, ALAS stepped up to serve and care for the grieving community.”


Becker emphasized that the commitment of ALAS to the community did not start with its response to the tragedies. “ALAS has been at the forefront supporting farmworkers and families — not only highlighting concerns like living conditions, mental wellness, economic prosperity, and broadband access, but also providing solutions,” he said in the release.


Berman and Becker previously named Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, the founder and executive director of ALAS, as Woman of the Year in their districts. In February, Hernandez-Arriaga attended President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address as a guest of U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo.


ALAS started as a grassroots organization in 2011. According to its vision statement, the group aims to create “a strong and engaged Latino coastal community, in which its people celebrate their identity and culture with pride and believe in their capacities to pursue their own dreams.”


Sandra Sencion, community program coordinator and executive assistant at ALAS, said the state honor “is really special because it’s from both Becker and Berman and it’s rare for them to pick the same nonprofit.” She noted that during this challenging year, the officeholders have really seen ALAS in action.


In addition to stepping up with services and financial assistance to the farmworkers and families affected by the shooting, ALAS has a variety of ongoing programs and activities serving the community. Last year ALAS unveiled the Farmworker Equity Express Bus. The eye-catching double-decker bus serves as a mobile resource center bringing health care services, tutoring, WiFi access and more, directly to farmworkers on the coast.


Earlier this month ALAS staff attended a luncheon in the state capital with their peers from other nonprofits selected for recognition by legislators throughout the state. Sencion said the trip to Sacramento provided a valuable break for the tireless staff who don’t have many opportunities to get out. “We had a great tour of the capital,” she said.


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