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Bay Area nonprofit celebrates decade-plus of serving Latino families, farmworkers

Updated: Jun 27

By Warren Pederson

June 16, 2024



Grupo Accordion Campo Media Luna, an ensemble formed to promote healing after last year’s mass shooting, performs at Ayudando Latinos A Soñar’s anniversary Saturday in Half Moon Bay. Accompanying the accordionists on guitar is Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, founder and executive director of the organization.

Victoria Sanchez De Alba/Ayudando Latinos A Soñar


A Half Moon Bay nonprofit meeting the educational and cultural needs of Latino families and essential workers celebrated its anniversary Saturday with a gala showcasing local artists.


Ayudando Latinos A Soñar (Helping Latinos Dream) marked a decade-plus of accomplishments, growth and solidarity with a program at Ides Hall featuring ranchera singer Steeven Sandoval, musical ensemble Mariachi Nueva Generación, and Latin soul band Hernan Hernandez Jr. and SuenaTron.


The celebration also featured performances by ALAS’ performance groups, Grupo Accordion Campo Media Luna, an accordion ensemble formed to promote healing in the aftermath of the last year’s mass shootings at two mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay, and Ballet Folklórico Tonantzin y Mariachi Media Luna, a dance program that helps children connect with their parents’ cultural traditions in Latin America.


The nonprofit formed in 2011, but “we have been so busy in the recent years that we haven’t had the chance to formally celebrate our 10-year anniversary,” Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, ALAS founder and executive director, said in a statement. “This year, we have the opportunity to celebrate with a Gran Gala that expresses our gratitude to the community with phenomenal live entertainment.”


Saul Miranda, district representative for state Sen. Josh Becker, presents a certificate of recognition to Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, founder and executive director of Ayudando Latinos A Soñar, at the organization’s gala in Half Moon Bay on Saturday. The certificate was presented on behalf of Becker and Assembly Member Marc Berman.

Saul Miranda, district representative for state Sen. Josh Becker, presents a certificate of recognition to Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, founder and executive director of Ayudando Latinos A Soñar, at the organization’s gala in Half Moon Bay on Saturday. The certificate was presented on behalf of Becker and Assembly Member Marc Berman.


Victoria Sanchez De Alba/Ayudando Latinos A Soñar

ALAS offers free programs of arts, education and mental health services for Half Moon Bay’s Latino community. Last year, the nonprofit presented an October Day of the Dead celebration and participated in a May summit seeking housing and health care reforms for farmworkers after the January mass shootings, in which authorities say a disgruntled former employee of the farms killed seven people and critically injured another.


“Building ALAS over the past decade has been a labor of love, and we want to celebrate our achievements and the growth of our movement with this free event for community members,” Hernandez-Arriaga said.


Reach Warren Pederson: wpederson@sfchronicle.com


June 16, 2024

Warren Pederson

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