Earlier this year, Mary Potts became our Farmworker Services Division Director. She has spent many years with CHD and contributed to the Farmworker Services Division and the clients we serve. We asked her to take to some time to write about her story with CHD and what the work she does means to her. Please read her story below!
In 1995, I came to CHD (CHDC at that time) with true respect for the Farmworkers after the ranch I worked at was consolidated and sold to another company.
After moving from the Bay (San Mateo County) to the Valley (Solano County), I worked at a herb ranch in Dixon, CA, Integrated Ingredients, Spice Island/Durkee French. I was the assistant to the Ranch Manager and Inventory Control Manager. I worked directly with the Farmworkers (hand packers and field workers) assisting them with their needs, both professionally and personally. I was amazed by their dedication and will as they worked tirelessly in the fields; I advocated for them while they taught me the struggles they faced on a daily basis. My life work has been a mutual respect for the land they work on and the will they have to provide a better way of life for their families.
Coming from a very humble beginning, the daughter of a shoe repairman & homemaker, immigrant grandparents, and a single mother of two boys (one with health issues) gave me the drive to help fight for those less fortunate. I know what it is like to have barriers and not to have opportunities like others.
Along with the Farmworker Services’ Management Team, we have had the privilege to work directly with the founders of the corporation and learn from one of the greatest minds and visionaries that made the founders’ dreams come to life. For over 2 decades, I worked directly for Aurelio Hurtado, learned to stand up and fight for what’s right from George Ortiz, and was mentored by Chris Paige. As I stated before, Aurelio was the heart; George was the soul and Chris was the brain of this agency. I have been very fortunate to have such good teachers when learning about the Farmworkers’ needs. Being a part of such an amazing team that has dedicated their lives to giving back to the community they know so well and cherish in their hearts.
The Farmworker Services Division has helped thousands of agricultural workers improve their lives and the lives of their families by giving them a voice, providing them with the tools needed to find better jobs, and ensuring that those individuals that did not have food to eat or a place to sleep, had a meal and roof over their head for the night. However, there is still so much that must be done; there are thousands more that have not been reached. There are so many that live in fear; we as an agency must be there to pave the way.
As the first woman Division Director for Farmworker Services, I have a quest to lead by example and empower others to continue this mission.
“Be the Kind of Leader, you would Like to Follow” …. Mary Kay Ash
California Human Development’s (CHD) Immigration & Citizenship (I&C) Program has served our immigrant communities for over 20 years. We serve over five hundred people in Sonoma, San Joaquin, and Sutter County yearly. Northern California has thousands of hardworking immigrants who form a vital part of the backbone of our economy. CHD leverages our funding to make the process affordable, yet the demand for our services surpasses what we can provide. CHD I&C is seeking financial support to meet the needs of immigrants. We are hoping that with an influx of monetary support we can provide stability to our program and continue to expand the services we offer to people across our service areas seeking Immigration & Citizenship services.
Immigration & Citizenship services for clients serve as a pathway to security and a bridge toward economic mobility. Our clients have expressed the anxiety they feel due to their immigration status and how this uncertainty impacts their ability to earn money for their families and contribute to their community. Our service area has many immigrants who are just seeking security and the ability to build their version of the American Dream. For many of those individuals, the first step in that process is access to affordable and equitable Immigration & Citizenship services.
We are reaching out to you and our community at large in hopes you will consider donating and supporting this fundraising campaign and our immigrant population. Please consider donating today or sharing our call for support.
I thank you for taking the time to support and learn about our “Dream Fund Expansion Campaign.” We will be sharing more information about our program and the ways you can support us in the coming months. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me an email or give me a phone call!
If you would like to donate please click the link below:
Immigration & Citizenship Program Director
707-523-1155 x 4721