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2 posts from December 2013


La Luz honored with Jefferson Award



La Luz Center has joined the honored ranks of Becoming Independent and the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance by earning a local Jefferson Award. Given for excellence in community leadership and civic engagement, the award will be presented during a countywide event on Nov. 5.

“I felt humbled and honored,” said La Luz Center’s Executive Director Juan Hernandez. “I reflected on what this award really means. What it means is the work and vision of Ligia Booker, which began back in 1982 to serve the community, has finally been recognized throughout Sonoma County and the Bay Area. It is an honor for our board and staff to be able to continue the vision and work in the Springs and Sonoma Valley community.”

The national Jefferson Award for Public Service was launched in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sen. Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard, to recognize unsung heroes for their contributions as public servants or volunteers. Over the years, national Jefferson Awards have been presented to the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Walter Cronkite and Bob Hope. Shortly after the national award was established, 90 communities created their own, local versions of the award. Here in Sonoma County, anyone can nominate a person or organization that deserves recognition, recommendations that the Board of Supervisors reviews before selecting each year’s recipients.

“La Luz has garnered an excellent reputation for both the quality and quantity of the services provided as the primary resource in Sonoma Valley for disadvantaged families,” said First District Supervisor Susan Gorin, whose district aide, Jennifer Gray, nominated La Luz for the honor. “The positive impact they have made as the ‘go to’ place in the community for help in managing and improving their lives is remarkable. It is my pleasure to support La Luz and an honor to work beside them.”

New Community Outreach and Navigator joins La Luz

CatalinaLa Luz Center and the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center (SVCHC) are pleased to announce that Catalina Chavez-Tapia has accepted the position of Community Outreach & Navigator. This new position will enable the two agencies, which have similar and overlapping clientele, to reach out to community members who can benefit from their services, and design services that meet their needs. The position is funded in part by the Community Foundation of Sonoma County’s Todd Trust, which is dedicated towards improving the lives of Springs residents.

As the Community Outreach & Navigator, Catalina will learn about the Springs community, talk with community members and organizations to determine their needs, and help provide linkages between those needs and local agencies that address them.

“In addition to the services offered by La Luz and the Health Center, many other organizations in the community address specific needs of our clients. The goal of the position is to raise awareness of these services and to act as a liaison by bringing those services to where they are needed. It is not our intention to recreate what already exists.” stated Juan Hernandez, Executive Director of La Luz. “Collaboration with other service organizations is a crucial part of making sure our community has access to all the services they need.”

A big piece of Catalina’s work will be about collaboration and working with existing groups and efforts. “It is important to honor the work that has already been done in the Springs, however we believe that this position will break new ground in the integration of these services. It will improve access to all of the organizations in the current framework,” noted Cheryl Johnson, CEO of SVCHC. “Catalina has successfully worked with different organizations in Napa County to achieve a common goal, and we are excited to have her working to replicate that success here.”

Born in Michoacán Mexico, Catalina migrated to the United States in 1976. She was raised in Napa and educated in the Napa public schools. Her interests in advocating for English learner children and Latina women emerged from the challenges posed to her family by the process of migration. She earned her B.A degree in International Inter-Cultural Communication at California State University, Sacramento and her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Administration from University of San Francisco.

Catalina has spent the past two decades in the research field for nonprofit organizations. She has worked in the area of migration in health for the Health Initiative of the Americas, a program of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Her current research examines the impact of migration in Latina women.

Catalina is a member of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Parent School Partnership Program (MALDEF), Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), is a founder of the Association for the Advancement of Latin American Students (AALAS) and founder of the Bi-national Health Alliance of Napa County.

About SVCHC:

The Sonoma Valley Community Health Center is the largest provider of primary medical services to Medi-Cal, low income, and uninsured patients in Sonoma Valley. We serve all patients regardless of insurance level or ability to pay.

In 1994, Sonoma Valley was designated as a Medically Underserved Population Area and Health Professional Shortage Area. Founded in 1992 by Cynthia Solomon and Heidi Stovall, the Health Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Primary Care Community Health Center and became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in 2006. The Health Center works closely with the Sonoma Valley Hospital to form a comprehensive health safety net for Sonoma Valley.

The Health Center is open 6 days a week and currently operates out of 3 full-time licensed facilities, including a mobile medical van, which serves Sonoma’s Springs district. The Health Center serves over 7,000 patients a year resulting in more than 30,000 patient visits annually.

The patient population is 58% Latino; 35% Caucasian; 56% women and 44% men; 35% children and adolescents; 7% seniors. 45% of patients live at or below the poverty line and 43% of patients are uninsured. When the new Community Health Center opens it is anticipated that number of patients served will increase to over 10,000. 90% of our patients live within 5 miles of the new facility. 80% travel to the clinic by car, and the new site will have vastly improved parking. For those without a car, it is located right across the street from the Route 32 Sonoma County Transit stop.

Current services provided at the Health Center include: comprehensive primary care; pediatric and well-child exams; urgent care; immunizations; women’s health services; pre and peri-natal care; behavioral health; non-invasive preventative dental; early cancer detection; podiatry services; nutrition counseling; community health outreach; school-based mobile medical van services; geriatric services; diabetic and health education; teen services through our Teen Clinic; and case management and specialty referral management.

The Health Center has 50 employees and 10 contract providers. The Board of Directors is comprised of a majority of members who are consumers of the Health Center's programs and services. The members include business people, service professionals and community supporters and represent the local community. The Health Center has collaborative partnerships with La Luz, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma, Sonoma Valley Hospital and others.