If you’ve been to ComFish, you might recognize ALMA, or the Association of Latin Women in Alaska, as the host of fish taco night, right before the conference starts. The group accepts donations for the free tacos, but now they’re ready to put those donations to use and are making an effort to reignite participation and awareness of its programs.
Nancy Castro is ALMA’s treasurer and one of the organization’s founders. She said this year the nonprofit is reinstating its summer youth internship program.
“This program allows (us) to find a service or business that will provide training for the child, filling out the application for a job, doing the interview process, doing timesheets, and we pay for their time,” she said.
Youths will then be eligible to work 20 hours a week for 2 weeks during summer break. The goal is to give middle and young high schoolers a chance to learn what it’s like to join the workforce and how to apply for jobs when they get older.
Castro said they’re also looking at supporting young adults as well, and are looking for applicants for a scholarship they sponsor.
“That’s for students who are residents of Kodiak who will be studying in school in the state of Alaska and it’s for anyone who has a heritage that’s Hispanic or Latino,” she said.
It’s been a difficult time for the nonprofit. The pandemic meant they couldn’t meet in person for a while, and they’ve struggled to maintain the organization for years. They’ve had a decline in membership in the last decade and have no full-time staff.
Now they’re looking to grow ALMA once again. Castro said she’s been learning how to better lead the organization, and wants to bring a new passion for the local Latino community.
“We haven’t closed our organization yet because I believe in it, but it’s hard to keep it going,” she said. “So I don’t feel like we’re a strong organization, but I don’t think we’re a weak one either. It just takes so much to keep everything organized and going.”
The deadline to submit applications for the youth summer internship is June 2. Applications for ALMA’s scholarship for next spring are due Dec. 8.