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  • Writer's pictureALAS

Changing the World, One Woman at a Time

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

Published: April 2018

An Evening with ALAS, Local Latino Cultural Arts Monday, April 16, 2018 Community United Methodist Church, Half Moon Bay

We are very fortunate to have Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga join us for our April meeting. Ms. Hernandez-Arriaga is the founder and Executive Director of ALAS, the Coastside’s own Latino Cultural Arts Program. Alas in Spanish means wings. ALAS is an acronym for Ayudando Latinos A Soñar, which translates to Believing in Latinos to Dream.

As a counselor in our community, Belinda saw many young people struggling with selfesteem issues and identity as first generation Latinos in Half Moon Bay. Using the arts and education as a base, ALAS was established. The Foundation became a bridge for youth and families to celebrate their identity and shine a spotlight on their cultural wealth. Two of the ways ALAS promotes and supports Latino cultural arts on the Coastside are with a dance troupe, Ballet Folkorico Tonantzin and a Mariachi band program, Mariachi Media Luna.

ALAS also supports after school tutoring opportunities for students by partnering with student teachers from the Education program of Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont in the Mexitli Education Program. Additionally, ALAS is dedicated to providing social justice advocacy, counseling support, social work and wraparound case management to families. La Misma Luna focuses on community building through special events that promote building bridges as we all do live under the same moon. Our meeting will feature a presentation by Ms.Hernandez-Arriaga and several students involved in ALAS.

Angel Sencion will sing for us. Angel’s parents are from Cocula, Mexico. Angel has been part of ALAS for seven years. He has participated in Ballet Folklorico program and has become a very important part of the Mariachi program.

Raul Rodriguez will also perform for us. Raul is in seventh grade at Cunha Middle School and has been part of Mariachi Media Luna for five years. Both boys have performed at significant community events and special Bay Area performances.

Members of Ballet Folklorico will perform a traditional dance for us. Ms. Hernandez-Arriaga exemplifies the mission of AAUW. This past year, Belinda became Assistant Faculty in the Department of Counseling and Psychology at the University of San Francisco, after completing her Doctorate in Education.

Here is what she has to say about the Foundation: “In ALAS I am using my platform of education to connect University engagement to inspire the youth of our community. I also had the youth come and speak/teach our USF graduate students. My work at USF is also committed to inspiring the next generation of counseling therapists to support youth and families in our communities.” Come, be entertained and support local cultural arts!

Meeting Reminders: 6:30 p.m. Social Time — Hospitality provided by Montara 7:00 p.m. Presentation Begins — Branch Business Meeting to follow.


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