Check out the May Newsletter here.
“Everyone has the right to achieve their dreams, with the right tools and the right support- we want to be able to provide that puzzle piece that’s missing between the underserved and the services that exist,” said Laura Jiménez-Diecks, Senior Manager of Health Services at Canal Alliance.
Canal Alliance is described as a nonprofit champion of immigrants who are challenged by a lack of resources and an unfamiliar environment that aims to break the generational cycle of poverty in these communities. The Canal is a primarily Latino immigrant community. “80% of our staff speak Spanish, and not only that, but that same percentage is not only bilingual but also bicultural, so that positions us very well to be able to meet the clients where they are,” said Jiménez-Diecks. Having staff that understands the language and cultural barriers that Latino immigrants face in the Canal is what makes the Alliance so successful in catering to the needs of their community.
COVID had a worldwide impact on everyone, and Canal Alliance is no exception. Canal Alliance hired what they call community health workers from within the Canal community to be trusted messengers between the organization and the community that they serve. These messengers are Latino and members of the Canal community.
Jiménez-Diecks described these community health workers as “natural leaders who have this desire to bring equity and provide information and better the lives of their fellow neighbors and family.” They “are there to educate and create sustainable systems of equitable recovery after the pandemic.”
Canal Alliance has also initiated community planning focus groups in response to the pandemic. The goal of this group is to understand how they can best serve the community and keep them engaged. They also started a mental health group for families due to the increase of mental health issues brought on by the pandemic.
Jiménez-Diecks attributes the success of their organization to the trust they have built with their community as well as the influence of the community health workers. The relationships Canal Alliance has built with their community members is one that will continue well into the future. Check out their website here.