- Posted by Anna Bard
- On September 16, 2019
- advocacy, advocating, bicultural, bilingual, Domestic Violence, latina, latinx, latinx support, mentor, Volunteer
ALAS, a program of WINGS, serves men and women in the community who are experiencing domestic violence. The goal of the program is to identify and support LatinX clients in their life decisions by encouraging them to build upon their strengths, resources, and support networks.
ALAS provides support using the clients’ native language for communication, thus validating their emotions and giving them a safe space as they work with a WINGS Bi-Lingual Community Advocate. Clients have access to support groups, parenting groups, school district liaisons to advocate for the educational needs of their developing children, and other activities that emphasize self-development and independence; while providing emotional support.
The program focuses on providing LatinX clients with information, resources, and culturally-appropriate services, such as domestic violence intervention, housing options, financial literacy courses, and access to educational and healthcare resources; while promoting their well-being, safety, and self-sufficiency. ALAS clients also have access to legal advocacy resources and can attend legal clinics, administered by a volunteer attorney, providing education on how to obtain an Order of Protection against an abuser, a divorce, a US VISA, and information on asylum immigration in the US.
ALAS recruits, trains, and coordinates bilingual and bicultural volunteers to assist clients in accessing essential resources, receiving mentoring, and doing safety planning. Volunteer mentors also lead support groups and respond to calls on the WINGS domestic violence hotline which accommodates clients with Spanish language needs.
Bilingual and bicultural volunteer mentors are recruited from local LatinX organizations, congregations, and businesses. They are then matched with ALAS clients in need of personalized support. Additionally, support groups are held for domestic violence survivors at the Palatine Opportunity Center. Since the Center runs multiple programs and provides numerous services, LatinX can access WINGS services confidentially.
In the interest of creating a more integrated and understanding society, community education is another component of ALAS. WINGS ALAS staff give presentations on the basics of domestic violence; in particular, the challenges facing LatinX. The audiences of these presentations consist of health workers, social service providers, law enforcement, and other professionals with direct contact to domestic violence victims. In addition, ALAS conducts community campaigns to educate the LatinX community about domestic violence.
LatinX coming to ALAS often have lost their dignity because of the abuse they have endured and the isolation that often occurs in domestic violence situations. The ALAS program helps to restore their dignity by empowering them to regain their self-worth. Read Martina’s story as a testimony to this.