WENATCHEE — Ever since the first grade, having only recently seen her first snowfall and after being left in the hall because she could not speak English, the 7-year-old immigrant from Mexico dreamed of being an educator so that others like her would have it better.
Alma Chacón has 30 years of administrative experience in education. She has worked in school districts across the state — Yakima, Soap Lake, Wenatchee, Olympia — as a teacher and principal. She also worked as a program supervisor in the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
In 2004, Chacón and her husband, Dr. Jorge Chacón , started the nonprofit, the Community for the Advancement of Family Education (CAFE), which provides education and resources across North Central Washington.
Whether it be education, financial or food assistance, it has been Chacón's goal to help her community in any way possible.
It's a passion of hers that warms her heart, she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the Latino community here in the Chelan-Douglas area. When federal assistance became available to immigrants who did not qualify previously for other COVID-19 relief, CAFE was there to help immigrants with the application.
By the time applications closed, CAFE assisted over 3,400 people apply for financial help, according to Chacon.
CAFE has been hosting informational video sessions over Facebook about COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. CAFE is also nearly ready to begin CAFE University, a free tutorship program to help students that are perhaps not meeting standards during the pandemic.
"All students no matter what age, whatever career you choose, if it requires university, you can go to university," Chacón said.
Chacón has also rallied the numerous other organizations — Columbia Valley Community Health, Serve Wenatchee, Molina Healthcare, the Chelan-Douglas Health District, Confluence Health, Columbia Legal Services, and many more — in the Wenatchee Valley to coordinate their efforts in an education campaign around COVID-19.
Chacón is also a board member in another nonprofit, Our Valley, Our Future which also works to educate the Latino community about COVID-19.
Chacon's work has always been about helping others whether that be 30 students in a classroom, one school district, or the entire community.
This story was originally published in The World's 2021 Progress Edition in which Chacón was honored with the 2021 Community Connection Award. Read the original article here.
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