Alma, an immigrant from Mexico, first came to Enlace Comunitario twelve years ago when a friend brought her to Enlace. At the time, Alma was experiencing domestic violence and she was looking for help. As Alma remembers, “It wasn’t easy to come to Enlace. It was hard to talk about the abuse and I was fearful for the safety of my loved ones. My case manager and therapist at Enlace provided moral support and I met a lot of other women, which helped me to see that I wasn’t alone–that lots of people experience domestic violence, but we just don’t talk about it.”
Through her Enlace Case Manager, Alma accessed shelter and transitional housing. As a victim of crime, Alma qualified for a U-Visa which helped her to adjust her legal immigration status. She was active in Enlace’s support group. With her family’s well-being serving as her motivation, Alma was able to seek services, find safety and make positive life changes. She astutely notes “I knew that if I wasn’t okay, my family would not be okay.”
In January of 2013, Alma called Enlace Comunitario. This time, Alma called to say ‘thank you’ for all of the support that she had received and to ask how she could help the organization that had helped her so much. Enlace staff quickly set up a meeting with Alma. Alma was surprised and delighted by how much Enlace had grown in over ten years. She couldn’t believe all of the different programs that Enlace offered and how many families we served.
Since that return visit to Enlace, Alma has provided a weekly meal for our parenting group. Each week, she brings her delicious food to Enlace for approximately thirty participants. In addition, she brings food for our prevention classes and our in-house leadership trainings. In total, this past year, Alma provided $9,250 in in-kind contributions (almost 2,000 meals for our clients and class participants). In her own words, “Enlace helped me so much. The best way to give back is to help with what one does best. For me that is through giving my time and my food. Giving back to Enlace feels good. It’s not a burden. I take pleasure in knowing that the women and children like my food.”
Today, Alma’s life is completely different. Alma is the proud owner of Nena’s, a Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque, and an involved mother of three beautiful daughters who are excelling in school. She has a new partner who she credits with being respectful and attentive. Her restaurant features posters and literature that promote Enlace’s life-changing programs.
We encourage you to support Nena’s and enjoy their delicious food. Their address is: 806 Old Coors SW, Albuquerque, NM 87121-3306.
For more information on this story, contact Sandra Ortsman.