Enlace Comunitario (Enlace) works to transform the lives of immigrant victims of domestic violence, their families and their communities in Central New Mexico. We achieve this not only by providing comprehensive services to victims and their children, but also by building the leadership capacity of former victims, as well as engaging them and community partners to change the policies and social norms that perpetuate violence against women and discrimination against immigrants.
The inspiration to do our work at both individual and collective levels comes from the women we serve. These women arrive at our agency demoralized, with huge emotional and financial problems. They work with determination to do what it takes to survive. Many of them become leaders of the anti-violence movement after participating in our transformative leadership development program.
Our team has gained the trust of thousands of victims - we serve around 1000 people a year - by working side-by-side with them and their children to find the best ways to uplift their spirits and increase their wellbeing. For the last 20 years, this inspiring and amazing team has served the immigrant community with an extraordinary commitment to do everything in their power to help overcome the additional barriers faced by immigrants suffering from domestic violence: language, isolation, and immigration status. Comprised of around 30 motivated advocates, counselors, educators, attorneys, public policy experts and administrators, the team has generated innovative ideas that have contributed to the development of high quality programs and communitywide initiatives aimed at enhancing the rights of our immigrant community. All have demonstrated a “sí se puede” attitude that has allowed Enlace to become a strong organization recognized locally and nationally.
One of Enlace’s newest Initiatives is the Leadership Development Program for Non-profit Leaders. Two years ago, we identified the need to build the leadership capacity of our own senior managers. Enlace consulted with other local, social justice non-profit agencies serving the low-income Latino immigrant community. As a result, we reached the conclusion that, while there are some training opportunities available in New Mexico, there is no long-term leadership development program for staff of color, including immigrants whose verbal and written communication skills in English are often not sufficiently developed. Currently available training and leadership programs assume a foundation of verbal and written skills in English. Furthermore, future leaders needed to develop the management skills required for effectively leading a non-profit organization.
In response, in collaboration with the agencies consulted, Enlace developed a curriculum focusing on three learning priorities: management skills (planning, human resource management, fundraising, financial management); written and verbal communication; and transformative leadership skills informed by a racial equity/social justice framework. The first cohort of ten leaders from Enlace and partner agencies finished the training in November 2019. Preliminary feedback affirms that the training is very promising and has the potential to make a difference in the New Mexico non-profit sector.
Enlace Comunitario is developing a plan to make this training available to other non-profits statewide.
Visit them online at: