Pathways to Success

At California Human Development (CHD), we believe that every person deserves the opportunity to have pathways created and doors opened. Our employee, Rosalina Montanez, is an excellent example of what new possibilities are in reach due to these created opportunities.

Rosalina Montanez came to the United States in 1985 during the Reagan Administration in search of a better-paying job to provide for her family. Her journey started working in the fields where she would pick apricots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and various other foods for a living. Rosalina was a farmworker for two years without a place to call home. In 1988 she decided to apply for a seasonal migrant camp where she lived for nearly 17 years with her family.

Before arriving in the US, Rosalina had previous work experience in administration, which allowed her to become an Office Assistant. Through being a farmworker, she heard about California Human Development and the support we provide to farmworkers. As a result, she took the initiative to visit the closest office to outline her options and eligibility for assistance. Immediately, she was directed to a case manager for screening in our Workforce Development & Farmworker Services Division. After her screening, it was determined that she qualified for 380 hours of Work Experience Training. Through our Work Experience Program, Rosalina learned more about computers, administration, and software systems such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. While at CHD, she also learned that she could finish High School and decided to revalidate her high school credits to complete.

At the time, our Galt office offered Immigration & Citizenship assistance. Rosalina quickly took action to see if there was a legal pathway for her to become a U.S. Citizen. As a result, she was able to gain her Green Card and fully become a U.S. Citizen in 2021. She states, “It was a really good experience working with CHD because I did finish high school, and I was able to gain more through the Immigration & Citizenship Program.”

However, once she completed her 380 hours of work experience, Rosalina faced many hurdles and didn’t immediately find the job she was hoping for. However, she was not discouraged and knew that there was something better coming her way. “After, doing farmwork and other hard labor jobs, I knew this was not my vocation,” said Rosalina.

Later, she received a call from her Case Manager at CHD offering her an opportunity to apply for a Temporary Outreach Team Leader Position for our Call Center. This position became available because of our Disaster Relief for Immigrants (DRAI) program, which financially assisted undocumented individuals across our CHD service footprint. Based on her performance and the way she served clients, she was a natural fit to transition to a permanent position in CHD. Therefore, we offered her the opportunity to apply for a permanent position with us as a Youth Case Manager. Rosalina decided to do her application and proceeded with an interview. Rosalina was hired shortly after that. Rosalina commented on this part of her journey by saying, “I never thought I would get the job. There were a lot of barriers facing my way, and one of the many that I worried about was my age and the language barrier.”

Rosalina never expected to be offered her dream job. However, CHD was able to provide Rosalina with the opportunity to achieve a better life. Throughout her journey, Rosalina has learned more about herself and realized she has the power to influence and inspire others. In addition, Rosalina’s background has allowed her to better understand and connect with her clients.

Today, Rosalina continues to thrive and has created a mission of her own to continue to show others that anything is possible. In her own words, “I just want to say to people that it’s never too late and to believe in yourself.”

New Anthony Soto Employment Training Center in Woodland, CA.

Career Series Recap

disABILITY Services like many others had to adjust and adapt to the changes that were incurred due to the pandemic. Virtual support was offered through multiple daily classes on Zoom. Adjusting to an online platform made it challenging to provide community integration for our participants. We worked tirelessly to provide a curriculum and supportive services that would improve the well-being of the individuals we serve. One of the classes that were offered was called the “UpLink Career Discovery Series.”

The UpLink Career Discovery Series was a virtual educational speaker series where our program participants could learn and connect with professionals in our community. The series included 10 guest speakers that joined our class and presented information about the jobs and careers they do. It was a great opportunity for our participants to learn about the various careers they could pursue and was a great way to connect with local employers.

Our mission, goal, and vision for this series was to bring the community to us. In a creative way, we managed to integrate our participants, empower them to seek out new opportunities, and learn from local professionals. Our participants enjoyed our series as it informed them about their opportunities.

Here is some feedback that our participants had to say about the career series:

“It was freaking awesome”

“Petaluma Pie was my favorite because we got to see them work and how the pies were made”

Our speakers also had a few comments:

“We thought you did a great job of organizing it and walking us through technical challenges we might have faced. We also had a great time and hope the students did too.”
-Lina (Petaluma Pie Company)

“I very much enjoyed giving the clients a taste of what a typical day of pet sitting is like, and educating them about the business side of it and what you need to do to start it up.”
-Julie’s Pet Sitting

“The Zoom Speaker Series was such a delight to participate in, everyone was so engaged and interactive and it was so fun to share an afternoon talking about music and be in community together!”
-Keeley Hogan (singer/songwriter/music teacher)


Supporting Camp Nunez Children Through the Pandemic

Camp Nunez is an extraordinary camp program that we offer here at, California Human Development to kids who may not otherwise get the opportunity to experience. Camp Nunez provides kids with the opportunity to gain leadership and social skills. We are grateful to have received funding from the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation to host and prepare for our 2020 Camp Nunez trip. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to provide camp as we have done in the past. However, the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation allowed us to still make use of the funds granted even though we were unable to host camp this past year. The Camp Nunez team brainstormed and reached out to parents, teachers, and counselors on how to best support students that would have attended Camp. We discovered that many families did not have access to internet or laptops. Thankfully, the school district began to provide households with hot spots and laptops, we were also able to identify another need. Several of the families did not have access to printers and while most of the work is done online, oftentimes there was a need for students to print packets or essays to review and edit. Fortunately, this will help families even after the pandemic. Our low-income community is often the most affected by digital disparities. We are happy to have been able to help close that gap, even a little bit with these printers and supplies.

The students that were chosen to receive printers and additional supplies were referred by school counselors and partner agencies/programs such as Migrant Education. These are students that would have been referred for our summer camp if we were able to provide one.

As we reached out to families to inform them, they had been chosen to receive the printer and supplies the families expressed extreme gratitude and appreciation. During these hard times, printers are a need that families simply could not prioritize.


Looking for ward to Summer 2021 thanks to funding again from the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, we will be able to provide Campers with a Virtual Recreational Series. Although things have been trending in the right direction as far as the pandemic coming to an end, CHD still felt we weren’t in a place to offer Camp Nunez in 2021. However, we didn’t let the pandemic stop another Camp without having a plan in place.

This Virtual Recreational Series will provide would-be Campers with Recreational Kits that include items like (keyboards, art supplies, journals, etc.) The goal is to get Campers to unplug and express themselves creatively after a school year full of plugged-in learning. Our Camp Nunez Counselors will also be checking in with the Campers throughout the duration of this series to ensure they are doing okay mentally. We are excited for the Camp Nunez Program to be offering this series to give Campers a constructive form of expression and foster new habits.

Cesar Chavez Day at CHD

Cesar Chavez and his commitment to advocating for the farmworker is something that’s intertwined heavily with California Human Development’s (CHD) history. CHD has its roots based in supporting Cesar Chavez’s movement so much so that in fact, our founders marched with him on the frontlines of activism during the Civil Rights Era. Cesar Chavez fought vigorously through his non-violent methods to advocate for improving pay and working conditions for farmworkers in the 1960s and 1970s. He empowered future generations of farmworkers and promoted equity. Today, his work is seen as a pivotal part of the Civil Rights Era. His dedication, compassion, and courage are all embodiments of hope and the courage to advocate for change.

This past March, CHD’s Community Impact Team delivered care packages to the Farmworkers in our Napa, Calistoga, and St. Helena Farm Labor Centers. CHD’s Farm Labor Centers are a part of our Affordable Housing Division. We house thirty to forty Farmworkers in each complex. The centers feature thirty bedrooms housing two residents each. They each have bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, payphones, and offer various recreational activities. Meals are served every day except for Sundays. These Farm Labor Centers are essential services that we provide for qualified farmworkers.

We wanted to ensure the farmworkers in our Farm Labor Centers felt appreciated and seen on Cesar Chavez Day. CHD was able to distribute over one hundred and fifty care packages to these farmworkers that included an insulated lunch pail, workers gloves, UV protection safety glasses, cooling towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and gift cards for grocery stores. In addition to these items, CHD staff also wrote letters to the farmworkers to thank them for their hard work that supports our local economy. In the coming years, we hope to grow this tradition of giving back to these individuals we have the privilege of serving.

California Human Development and Innovative Health Solutions Promotes Food Security of Older Adults in Solano County

Innovative Health Solutions, a public health nonprofit organization, announced a plan to support older adult health and food security by leading the implementation of a food forest in Solano County with funds provided by Napa/Solano Area Agency on Aging using the Cal Fresh Healthy Living Grant. The urban agroforestry system will yield fresh fruits and vegetables and provide space for physical activity programming for 135 low-income older adults at Parkway Plaza a low-income older adult apartment community located in Fairfield, CA.

Innovative Health Solutions is collaborating with Sustainable Solano on this effort to execute health-centered, environmental changes that will benefit the older adult community. This pocket of sustenance will contain fruit trees, planting berms, and integrated seating areas. It is an opportunity to protect not only the physical health of older adults but also their mental and emotional wellbeing.

“More than ever after this unprecedented past year, we are excited to bring our community back together,” said Jenalee Dawson, Social Services Coordinator at Parkway Plaza “Innovative Health Solutions and Sustainable Solano have brought the opportunity to not only grow food but also grow a community by reconnecting residents who have been sheltered at home and isolated. The many benefits of this gardening project will extend beyond food security, as the garden will provide fresh vegetables, space for physical exercise and social relationships will be strengthened through this community gardening project.”

“I think it will unify people,” explained Martha Farr, resident of Parkway Plaza. “Everybody needs a little garden; it gives them something that is their own.”
Martha wakes up early most days to tend to her gardening box – she tells stories of eating fresh chiles, but also of using her garden to bridge unlikely connections between residents. This summer, Martha will sow seeds in the food forest, planting new veggies, and strengthening relationships.

Athena House Goes Camping & “Growing Hope” This September

This past April, the women of Athena House had the opportunity to venture off the grounds of their residential community to get together in nature for a camping trip. The women of Athena House are experiencing the transformational journey of substance recovery and the outdoors and can dramatically enrich that process. Throughout Athena House’s history, there has always been a desire to include nature as an integral part of the healing process. This camping trip became the first experience honoring that desire. All of the residents who attended were thrilled to participate. This trip created a deeper level of unity for the women in recovery at Athena House. More importantly, this showed that their recovery journey would bring new forms of joy into their lives. Athena House hopes to make this an annual event in nature so all future residents of Athena House can experience the value of this trip into the wilderness.


Substance Recovery Services (SRS) is continuing this theme of celebrating the integration of nature into the recovery process with future events as well! SRS is excited to officially open its Zen Garden of the Goddesses at Athena House this September at our “Growing Hope” Fundraising Event. This event will feature an afternoon spent with alumni, staff, and some clients of Substance Recovery Services and their stories of recovery. We are excited to bring you more information as we get closer to the event. If you would like to Opt-in to receive the formal announcement of this event and purchase tickets when available, please follow the link below!


Sign Up to Receive Updates on the Growing Hope Fundraising Event!

CHD June Events

Summer is here! Come check out what CHD has going on this June! Feel free to reach out to the staff listed on the events for more information about their events.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait!- A Success Story

The challenges associated with immigrating to the USA can be significant. The red tape and wait times alone can be exhausting, not to mention the interview process which most clients say is “SCARY”.

The long journey for this young couple started in 2016. Born in Laos and desiring to get married and live their life in the USA, this couple had quite a few hurdles to overcome: language barriers, travel restrictions, and financial constraints just to name a few.

In 2017, they were finally able to get married in the United States and were granted a 2-year conditional Visa. In 2019, the couple returned to CHD for help with an Adjustment of Status. We are proud to say the process was successful and our client who was seeking immigration assistance is now a Legal Permanent Resident. Congratulations to this happy couple. Good things come to those who wait! Good job CHD Immigration & Citizenship team!

For more details and information about our Immigration & Citizenship services please visit the link below.