Immigration & Citizenship: Happy Ever After

Rene sought assistance from our CHD Immigration and Citizenship Lodi office back in June of 2017. He made a consultation with our Senior Case Manager, Sharon Gillies, and discussed his options to bring his wife, Natjuree to the United States of America. Sharon assisted Rene with filing the I-129 Fiancé Visa application and completing the consular processing so Natjuree can make the journey from Thailand to the USA. When Natjuree arrived and married Rene within the 90-day time frame, Sharon completed the Adjustment of Status (I-485) application for her permanent residency. Natjuree received a 2-year conditional permanent residency card. Once her 2-year conditional permanent residency card was close to expiring, Sharon assisted Natjuree with her I-751 application to remove conditions on her permanent residency and completed a new 1-765 work authorization application. Once her I-751 has been approved and she has 3 years of permanent residency, Natjuree will have the opportunity to apply for US Citizenship.


Rene and Natjuree are extremely grateful for all the assistance and support they received from Sharon.

disABILITY Services: Holiday Edition

Our disABILITY Services Program spent this holiday season honoring previous and current employees as well as their clients and their families. To begin, their first Community Celebration and Fundraiser was hosted back on November 13, 2021. Our disABILITY Services Program was honoring former Program Director, Mary Biggs, and her years of service to the program. Mary Biggs spent decades with CHD. We had clients and family members of the clients speak on the impact that our program has had on their lives. We are so thankful for the amazing partnerships we have to continue doing the work we do. All of our clients and their families and guests had an amazing time. Thank you to all the businesses who contributed to our event!


In the month of December, we had one of our Board Members, Emila Aguilar, and her partner, Bill, provide lunch and Christmas gifts to all of the clients at disABILITY Services. Emila took the lead role in securing donations from supporters to ensure disABILITY Services could start a Holiday tradition that means something special to their clients. Thank you to Emila, Bill, and everyone who supported this special day of festivities!

Employee Spotlight: Jesse Carbone

What is your background?

I started working with the disabled community in high school. I was the teaching assistant for the Special Ed classes. And just fell right into it. I met so many amazing people (that I still work with) and got to learn how much of an impact we were on each other. Watching them get so excited over what we many learn easily and take for granted. For example, watching their faces light up because they learned how to give me change for a $10 bill, tie their shoes and or even write their name. After having my daughter I worked for a large day program as a DSP running a mobile work crew, that worked in the community doing paid janitorial and yard work. After about 10 years of doing that I moved on to being the Time Study manager. I then was a private caregiver and end of life support for many years. But working with our folks has always been my passion and always will be.

What made you want to be of service to your clients?

Well, it all started when I was in the 6th grade. We used to carpool to school and a classmate of mine had a little sister with down syndrome and she would tag along for the rides. One morning she was eating a bagel and cream cheese and smeared it in my hair. All the kids in the car laughed at her, not me, but I was the one with cream cheese everywhere. And I remember thinking to myself “Well this kid needs help” and that led the way for me to do what I do. It’s the small things that make the biggest difference in this field, sounds a little cliché but now I know why. And here I am.

How did you come to work at CHD?

I heard through working in this field that there was an Instructor training position open at “REI” Redwood Empire Industries, which is now CHD disABILITY Services. And I was excited to start working in the field again.

How has CHD impacted your life?

Wow, where do I start? When I first started I had no idea that the corporation was so big. No idea that we had so many departments and that we have so much support for the community. I have met some amazing people and made great friends, especially in the last 3 years since there has been a big turnover. It is a friendly, family-like environment. I love that I can walk down the halls and always get a wave or a smile.

How have your clients impacted your life?

The people I work with every day just amaze me. There is really never a dull moment. The fact that they have come so far over the years. Some from being in institutions to being able to live on their own and me still being able to support, guide, and teach them makes me appreciate how strong and motivating they are. They have taught me many lessons and self-worth and how to look at life and certain situations from a different perspective.

If there’s one issue in your field you think needs to be addressed what is it?

Society should move towards not considering a disability a personal deficit or shortcoming, and instead of thinking of it as a social responsibility in which all people can be supported to live independent and full lives, it becomes easier to recognize and address challenges that all people including those with disabilities experience.


To learn more about CHD disABILITY Services please watch the video below and visit our disABILITY Services page:



Josefina’s Journey to Citizenship

Pictured: Senior Case Manager Asucena Zentino


Josefina is a 54-year-old native of Mexico. She first came to CHD in August of 2020 to apply for US Citizenship. Her application was approved and a year later she was scheduled for her citizenship interview. She was elated to finally accomplish her goal of becoming a US citizen. Our Senior Case Manager, Asucena Zetino, met with Josefina to prepare her for her scheduled interview. Josefina was so relieved to find out that she qualified to take the interview questions in Spanish, her primary language. Little did Josefina know that her journey to becoming a US citizen would take an unexpected turn.

On September 23, 2021, Josefina presented herself at her citizenship interview. She was assigned a very kind interviewer who started the interview with basic information in English. Josefina replied to his initial questions in English, and he told her that even though she could take interview questions in Spanish, her English was good enough to take the civics test in English. She hesitated and became nervous at the thought that she may not be able to respond correctly in English. His encouragement helped her decide to take a chance and respond to his questions in English. She successfully passed the civics test in English! The feeling of excitement that she was able to accomplish something that once seemed impossible increased her confidence to learn more English. Josefina attended the Oath Ceremony on September 29, 2021, where she received her Naturalization Certificate. When she shares her experience with others, they are encouraged by her story. She is now a proud US citizen.

Affordable Housing: Hermila Ferreyra Heredia

Hermila Ferreyra Heredia is a resident at Mahal Plaza. Hermila is extremely thankful to the staff at Mahal Plaza for providing an opportunity for her and her daughter when they needed it the most. Hermila is a farmworker and thanks to CHD’s Affordable Housing she can have a place to call home.

Hermila is thankful for the housing because it “helps all the farmworkers, working on the farms is a very difficult job that gets paid minimum wage. For farmworkers, it is basically impossible to rent a decent and safe place with their wages.” Therefore, she is very thankful because it gives their families a decent, safe, and affordable nice place to live and raise their children.

Hermila would like to further thank the Mahal Plaza staff for being on top of tenant requests. The staff is very prompt and polite. She is very pleased to live there. The staff at Mahal Plaza makes sure to keep their units, gardens, and common areas very nice and clean.