4 posts categorized "Vineyard Worker Services"


Thank you, Vintners and Growers!!

On behalf of our Vineyard Worker Services Program, we want to extend our warmest thank you to the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers for its generous $25,000 grant. This generosity makes it possible for us to provide the vineyard worker community with ongoing vitally needed services.  

VWS programs at La Luz will now focus on expanding and increasing onsite delivery-- taking information on financial literacy, affordable housing, family and parenting issues, and mental health directly to the vineyards.   

A new program La Luz is developing this season will specifically target interpersonal communication skills for both supervisors and workers on the job-site.  The goal is to promote productivity and avert workplace conflicts.  Training will also be extended to vineyard management companies, as they employ a large percentage of the local vineyard labor in Sonoma Valley, and share concerns about these issues with the Vintners and Growers community.”


California Human Development Presentation at La Luz Center

CHD (California Human Development) will be giving a presentation here at La Luz Center in Booker Hall on January 30th, 2012 from 6-7pm.  We are very excited about this presentation since few in the community of Sonoma Valley have much awareness about CHD's wonderful programs and the training opportunities which they provide eligible farm workers, though they have been successfully providing these services throughout Northern California for over 41 years to over 15,000 individuals annually.

In light of the current economy and difficulty for vineyard and farm workers to secure employment, these programs have become crucial for those workers looking to secure better labor opportunities while transitioning out of farm labor, those displaced by lack of available work, and others interested in improving their overall scope of job skills.  Hispanic workers here in the Sonoma Valley have not been very informed about CHDs offerings in the past, and we here at La Luz Center are working hard to collaborate with CHD to bring access to their services closer to this very isolated and under-served pocket of the population in Sonoma County. 

Michele Alba

Community Outreach & Vineyard Worker Services Coordinator


Our Migrant Worker Camp is Open!


It’s grape picking season, and our guest workers no longer have to sleep in their cars or creekside. 

Take a drive down Aguacaliente Road from Arnold Drive, and look left at St. Leo’s Catholic Church.  You will see eight pristine blue temporary “houses” (AKA trailers) that La Luz provides every harvest season for our migrant workers.  There is also a mess hall, shower trailers, a laundry area and a meeting space for classes and lectures.

The 32 young men who live in the camp during harvest get up early, pick grapes, and then return to rest in the late afternoon.  The La Luz Brown Baggers provide breakfast and lunch for the men, and dinner twice a week. 

Many nights La Luz hosts English classes for the men, and lectures on health issues.  Together with St. Joseph’s Health System, medical and dental care—including teeth cleaning-- are provided.

“The cost to operate the camps --close to $35,000—is greatly offset by a grant from the Vadasz Family Foundation,” says Maricarmen Reyes-Larios, who coordinates the camps for La Luz.  “These men are a vital part of our Valley’ economy, and we are happy we can provide these services for them.” 

Photo by Robbi Pengelly/Sonoma Index tribune


La Luz Center Presents "La Copa César Chavez"

IMG_0730 La Luz Center’s Vineyard Worker Services (VWS) program is proud to present the first ever Copa César Chavez, or the César Chavez Cup.  Four soccer teams composed of workers from St. Francis Vineyards, Carneros Vineyards, Enterprise Vineyards, and Enrique Vineyard Management will compete in the tournament beginning Sunday, March 6, and ending Sunday, March 27.  All players are young vineyard workers, ages 25 to 30, who have never before played for an official team or competed for a trophy.

The tournament is part of La Luz’s new initiative to promote healthy living through diet, exercise, and a focus on our daily habits.  Other components of this initiative include the ten-week cooking/nutrition program Tu Corazón, Tu Vida (Your Heart, Your Life), a forum with the Sonoma Valley Health Roundtable on children’s nutrition, and an eight-week child abuse prevention course.

The tournament will culminate in a reception at La Luz Center on March 27 from 6:00-8:30pm.  The event honors the participants of this initiative, the workers in our Valley that help bring the best wines to our tables, and César Chavez himself (a champion of the rights and dignity of field workers).  Dinner will be provided by students from Tu Corazón, Tu Vida.  Also at the reception will be an awards ceremony for the winning soccer team, recognition of the winners of the 2011 Sonoma Valley Pruning Competition, and acknowledgement of the twenty recent graduates from Tu Corazón, Tu Vida.

“Through this event, La Luz wants to acknowledge both the contributions the vineyard workers make to the Sonoma Valley and the importance of maintaining good health,” says Mario Castillo, Outreach and VWS Coordinator for La Luz Center.  “Healthy workers make healthy wines.”

La Luz Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting our Sonoma Valley neighbors, who contribute to the economic, cultural and social well-being of our community. La Luz provides English language training, teaches computer skills, distributes food, hosts medical services, offers crisis counseling, and supports events that celebrate the richness of our multicultural community.

For more information on this event, or to find out more about VWS, contact Mario Castillo at (707) 938-5131 x.102.


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17560 Greger Street

Sonoma, CA 95476


Mon-Thu 9am-5pm

Fri 9am-4pm