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Fresno non-profit celebrates 15 years of service and prepares for new chapter

Wrap-around services include immigration support, health and housing assistance, educational resources and grants.

ByKassandra Gutierrez via Monday, October 31, 2022 6:41PM

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Education Leadership Foundation or ELF in Fresno is celebrating 15 years of offering support services to people in the Central Valley.

The Latino-led non-profit has helped over 20,000 people in the last year across its 500 events.

Wrap-around services include immigration support, health and housing assistance, educational resources and grants.

Matias Bernal came to Fresno from Mexico City at age 14 and received help from the organization.

This year, he is back as ELF's executive director.

"It reminds me, something I heard a lot growing up, that you can do anything you want to do, you just have to work hard at it, and now I have the luxury of leading by example," says Matias.

Matias is a two-time Fresno State grad and a DACA recipient.

To him, it is meaningful that his organization represents the Latino people they serve.

"It just provides this level of understanding, this level of unity, this level of knowing that the other person providing the service has lived the life I am living," explains Matias.

This week, the Education Leadership Foundation is expanding with a new Tower District location.

Their new buildings will allow them to serve more people in the heart of Fresno.

Vianey Barraza is the special projects coordinator at ELF.

Her family immigrated to Fresno from Mexico.

Now, she gets to help people that have a similar story to her own.

"80% of the foundation has roots in the immigrant community, specifically from Mexico. It is always a joke around here when we say 'Where are you from?' and then we say the state where we grew up in, or our parents or where our grandparents are from," says Vianey.

The non-profit is hosting its open house with community partners on Tuesday.

Starting this Wednesday, services will be available from their new location.

Their two new buildings are located at 1220 E. Olive Ave and 1308 E. Olive Ave, Fresno, CA.

Services at their old location, 4290 E. Ashland Ave. Fresno, CA 93726, are still available.

To reach the organization, visit here. For details on resources go here.

The foundation hopes to expand its services and offices across the Central Valley.

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