Alma, an immigrant from Mexico, first came to Enlace Comunitario twelve years ago when a friend brought her. 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 wellbeing 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.
Today, Alma’s life is completely different. She’s the proud owner of Nena’s Food, a Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque. Each week, she brings her delicious food to Enlace for approximately thirty 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.”