MAGIC VALLEY — After noticing a lack of reliable resources for COVID-19 available in Spanish, Maria Alvarez, an Idaho mom decided to take it upon herself to change that by creating a platform called Conectate, a business that helps provide translating services, job trainings, and other resources to Idahoans.
“I needed to do something where I was able to have that flexibility and make an impact," Alvarez said.
Alvarez made the decision to start her own business after having to quit multiple jobs to be able to care for her son who has epilepsy and requires around-the-clock attention. She says the pandemic added extra challenges for her to be able to take a job that offered her that flexibility.
“So it was really challenging and I was applying at different jobs and I was told no because I did let them know my situation and let them know I needed that flexibility," Alvarez said.
During the pandemic, multiple friends and family were reaching out to Alvarez asking for help to translate information about COVID-19, since there was not a lot of reliable information available in Spanish.
After finding herself having trouble finding medical resources for her son, she wanted to do something to make it easier for the Spanish-speaking community.
“And I just thought this is crazy. If I’m struggling this much I can only imagine people that don’t know the language that can’t navigate the system and get to the right person," Alvarez said.
She realized there was a lack of reliable bilingual resources and a need for more services in Spanish after learning friends and family were receiving incorrect information, including her dad.
“I think the moment when I found out some information was not given right to my dad and he had thought it had been for three years I just thought this is it I’m tired of hearing these things and I need to do something about it,” Alvarez said.
This was the moment she decided to launch her business Conéctate, which translates to connect yourself, to be able to provide resources to the Spanish-speaking community.
“It’s definitely been way more than I expected and anticipated it’s been an overwhelming response, which we’re highly blessed, I’m highly blessed for that," Alvarez said.
Since launching her business, Alvarez has helped multiple Idahoans find resources. One Idahoan had issues signing up for her vaccine but was able to do so with the help from Conéctate.
For one Latina business owner, she said Conéctate was able to connect her with multiple resources that helped her business expand.
“With people like Maria that I met, we can work together as a group. We Hispanics sticking together we could achieve a lot more, we need to know the resources available to us that’s all we need,” Karla Rebeca Ramos, Owner of Bella Decor Idaho Falls, said.
Alvarez decided to use Facebook as her platform after noticing her parents and others relied heavily on Facebook to get their information. She knew it would be the platform that would be able to reach the widest audience.
“It was very important to me to be able to partner up with the right people that have the integrity to be able to educate and let these populations know what’s out there and they choices and that they have rights and that there are things that protect them no matter what your status is," Alvarez said.
To learn more about Conéctate, you can visit their Facebook page.