A Toast to Dedication: Reflecting on the 22nd Annual Pruning Contest in Napa Valley


February 3rd, Napa Valley was not just a witness to the resilience against the rainy backdrop but also to the celebration of the human spirit and dedication at the 22nd Annual Pruning Contest. Hosted with pride by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, this event brought to light the skill, determination, and hard work of the vineyard workers who are the unsung heroes of the wine industry.

California Human Development was privileged to be part of this vibrant gathering, connecting with the community, spreading awareness about our supportive programs, and rejoicing in the achievements of the farmworkers. The contest saw an impressive turnout of 113 contestants, among which a remarkable 27% were women, showcasing exceptional skill and unwavering determination. This diversity and participation highlight a positive shift toward inclusivity in the industry, celebrating the vital role of women in viticulture.

The day was a testament to the dedication of our Napa Valley farmworkers, whose tireless efforts are indeed the backbone of the wine industry. Their precision in the art of pruning, crucial for the vine’s health and the quality of the crop, was displayed with excellence, offering an educational spectacle for all attendees. It was a moment to acknowledge the hard work that goes into every bottle of wine that Napa Valley is celebrated for worldwide.

As we look back on this day filled with joy, learning, and community spirit, California Human Development is more excited than ever for the future. The event was a powerful reminder of the importance of coming together to support and celebrate our farmworkers, some of the true stars of the wine industry.

Our heartfelt thanks go to the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation for hosting such an impactful event and to all the contestants for their inspiring dedication and skill. The success of this year’s pruning contest not only celebrates the present achievements but also sows the seeds of inspiration for future generations.

To everyone who joined us in the rain, shared in the celebration, and contributed to the day’s success, thank you. Your support and spirit are what make events like this truly memorable. Here’s to the hardworking men and women of Napa Valley’s vineyards – we look forward to celebrating your talents and dedication for many years to come. ✨

Turning Challenges into Opportunities: Karen Santana’s Inspiring Journey with California Human Development


In the tapestry of life, every thread of experience contributes to the vivid pattern of our identity and destiny. Such is the story of Karen Santana, whose journey from Mexico City to California is a testament to resilience, determination, and the transformative power of support and opportunities. Karen’s story is not just her own but a beacon of hope for many navigating similar paths.

“Moving to a new country was overwhelming,” Karen reflects. “But embracing the new language and culture was the key to feeling at home.” Born in the bustling heart of Mexico City, Karen and her family embarked on a life-changing journey to California when she was just 11 years old. The transition brought challenges, but also the promise of new beginnings.

School became Karen’s gateway to a new world. “I remember the first day of school in the U.S. feeling like I was starting over. But it was there I learned English, made friends, and began to weave my American dream,” she shares. Karen’s early struggles laid the groundwork for a future filled with possibilities, transforming the unfamiliar into a place she could call home.

A pivotal moment in Karen’s journey was her application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). “DACA opened so many doors for me. It was like seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel,” Karen says. Her post-college years were marked by a significant milestone when she secured a job in public service, aligning with her chosen career path.

It was during this time that Karen’s path crossed with Asucena Zetino from California Human Development (CHD). “Meeting Asucena was a turning point for me. Her presentation on DACA renewals couldn’t have come at a better time,” Karen recalls. This serendipitous timing led Karen to seek the services of CHD, a decision that marked the beginning of a rewarding collaboration.

“Asucena, Anahi, and Theresa were more than advisors; they were my pillars of strength through the journey to residency,” Karen expresses. Their expertise, coupled with a personal touch, made an often daunting journey feel manageable and hopeful.

Reflecting on her return to Mexico for the residency process, Karen shares, “It was daunting, stepping back into a country I hadn’t seen in years, not knowing if I’d be able to return to the life I built in the U.S. But the support from CHD made all the difference.”

Today, Karen looks forward to the next chapter in her journey with CHD—her naturalization process. “I am eternally grateful for the opportunities and support CHD has provided me. They’ve not just helped me navigate the legal process but have empowered me to dream bigger,” Karen says with optimism.

Karen Santana’s journey from a young girl in Mexico City to a resilient individual making her mark in California embodies the essence of transformation through adversity. Her story, enriched with personal quotes, is not merely one of personal success but a beacon of hope and a guide for others navigating their own paths towards a brighter future.

As we share Karen’s inspiring story, we invite you to join us in celebrating the strength, courage, and determination that define the human spirit. Together, we can turn challenges into opportunities and dreams into realities.

CHD February 2024 Events