Over the past two years, ALCES, under the direction of founder Jaime Umaña, has made itself a meaningful fixture in the Latino community, offering important services like English classes, translation services, legal and immigration services and, most recently, GED preparation classes.
Since June, when President Barack Obama installed his DREAM Act-like executive order, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, GED classes at ALCES have been in high demand. In addition to meeting several other requirements, undocumented people under the age of 31 are eligible for DACA if they are currently attending school, have already graduated high school or obtained a GED, or are veterans of the U.S. armed forces. And, as filing the paperwork for any federal agency can be a challenge, ALCES also offers assistance to DACA applicants.
Though the center's name may not make it obvious, ALCES is not just here to serve Latinos in Athens. It is also reaching out to the wider Athens community by offering Spanish classes and hosting community events like Bravo! Festival Latino and their annual Winter Gala Dinner, scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 9.
“ALCES has events like the Gala every year not only to raise funds, but hopefully to engage new community members in our cause: supporting the Latino community in Northeast Georgia,” says Jess Reichard, grants director at ALCES. “We are passionate about educating and broadening the minds of Georgia residents about the important role immigrants, particularly immigrants from Central and South America, play in the vivid landscape of our modern state.”
The gala will be held at Hotel Indigo, in the Rialto Room and dinner will be provided by Trumps Catering. A live Latin jazz band will entertain guests as they bid on items in the silent auction from local vendors like The National, Last Resort, Encore Boutique, The Foundry Spa, Bikram Yoga Athens, and more. Tickets are $50 minimum donation and will go to support basic program costs, including teacher salaries and facilities improvements.