Where are Bill and Sheryl?: Visiting the ALAS Community Center
Bill Somerville, Founder, and Sheryl Young, San Mateo County Program Director, recently went to visit ALAS in Half Moon Bay. ALAS, a Latino Cultural Arts and Social Services Program for youth and families on the Coastside, invited Bill and Sheryl out to tour their newest programming, a Community Center.
Bill first met the founder of ALAS, Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, several years ago when she was finishing her PhD and running a small nonprofit for children in Half Moon Bay. This program has grown over the past few years to provide education, mental health and food services to farmworkers, essential workers, immigrants and newcomers. With a recent donation, they were able to open this community center in downtown Half Moon Bay and have expanded services.
The center offers a variety of free resources including mental health counseling. farmworker outreach, summer camps for youth, support for newcomer (asylum) families, and immigration legal support in partnership with USF Immigration Law School Clinic. A PVF donor made a donation to support refrigerators, freezers, and food storage at the center to help provide an emergency food pantry for the community. You can see in these photos the joy and appreciation for the refrigerator and freezer, as well as the safe place for children to learn and thrive.
ALAS opened a summer camp this year for 65 children when they recognized the learning gap due to the pandemic. Bill and Sheryl were able to sit in on the camp classes and got a chance to speak with the youths participating, many of whom recently immigrated to HMB through the McAllen, TX detention centers. Pictured below are paintings by the kids of the conditions they were kept in at the detention centers. It was a very moving experience for all.