THE CCA TEAM
Thank you for your very hard work
We celebrate your character and positive effect you have on others.
Executive Director | Center for Community Advocacy
A lifelong Salinas Valley and Central Coast resident, Natalie Herendeen has been a licensed attorney since 2014 and worked with CCA on a case in 2016 when she was an attorney with Legal Services for Seniors.
Herendeen was born in Salinas, grew up in Prunedale, and graduated from North County High School in Castroville. In addition to her work with Legal Services for Seniors, Herendeen opened her own practice, Herendeen Legal, in 2016, and has volunteered as a judge/juror in Lyceum Mock Trial since 2017 and volunteered for Peace of Mind Dog Rescue in 2017.
Herendeen got her bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara in 2006, graduating with honors, Phi Beta Kappa; and got her Juris Doctor degree in 2014 from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2014.
In her leisure time, she likes to hike, garden, play with her two dogs and spend time with her family.
Sabino F. Lopez
Deputy Director | Center for Community Advocacy
López has been with CCA since the organization opened its doors in 1990. He has held various roles as Organizer, Assistant Director / Organizing Leader and from 2017 to 2018 as Interim Executive Director.
Notably, López led the award-winning organizing model and for nearly three decades has served as an advocate for the organization’s mission to develop and empower the farmworker community in the Salinas and Pájaro valleys.
Born in Ameca Jalisco, Mexico, Sabino came to the Salinas Valley at the age of 17 to work with his father for D’Arrigo Bros. Co., Fresh Pick Co., and Sun Harvest Co. While at Sun Harvest, he participated as a crew leader and was later elected as the Ranch committee chairman by the workers. In 1971, Lopez was elected vice president and representative of 2,000 Arizona and California workers by the Farm Workers Union of America.
Later, López worked for California Rural Legal Assistance in Salinas as a community worker for the foundation of said agency, also as an organizer for the Justice for Janitors campaign and field representative of the International Union of Employees of Service Providers number 102 local in San Diego, California led by Eliseo Medina (ED).
López has been married for 46+ years, has six daughters, eleven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
CCA Director of Organizing and Education
Adriana Melgoza came to CCA with extensive experience as a community organizer and advocate for social justice for immigrants, farmworkers and underserved communities on the Central Coast.
Prior to coming to the CCA, she spent 12 years with the Watsonville Law Center working with community leaders to provide volunteer service in legal aid and community organizing on the Central Coast.
In doing so, she has worked with a number of community organizations, including as Central Coast Coordinator for the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, with the American Civil Liberties Union as a Field Fellow and for Immigration Action Group as a community organizer.
One of the aspects that drew her to the position of Director of Organizing and Education at CCA, was it would enable her to interact directly with the immigrant and farmworker communities, in person.
She received a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Human Communications with an emphasis in Practical Professional Ethics from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2010.
With all that she’s involved in, she still tries to balance life and work and find time to enjoy her off time. She enjoys dancing, music, family-oriented events, and traditional native practices, as well as traveling — “I like driving, it’s the perfect time to reflect.” And, she says she has her hands full raising three teenagers as a single mom.
Ana Garcia, Operations Manager at CCA, is no stranger to working at nonprofit organizations.
Before coming to CCA, Watsonville native Garcia worked for nine years as an administrative and legal assistant at the nonprofit Watsonville Law Center, which offers legal services for low-income residents on the Central Coast.
Born and raised in Watsonville, Garcia moved as a teen to Sacramento, and moved back to her hometown in 2008 after getting married. She started working at the law center after about 18 months back home, working with the after-school program at the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.
She left the law center for a two-year stint in the Watsonville office of the Salinas law firm Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna, but returned to the law center for four more years (2018-2022) before coming to CCA as Operations Manager.
Her leisure hours are spent mostly on “mom time,” taking her two sons and daughter to their soccer matches or watching their favorite teams play on TV.
Norma Ahedo Juarez
Community Health Organizer
Norma is the coordinator of the CCA Promotores Program, mainly responsible for coordinating the CCA’s Strong Families Program.
She started volunteering in the community and in 2009 became a part-time employee, and is now a full-time employee of CCA.
Norma, who also studied nursing Mexico , is a neighborhood leader and was trained by CCA and served as a volunteer community advocate for her neighborhood, specializing in the Strong Families Program.
In her hours of rest she loves to stay at home with her family. Norma loves to go On vacation to Mexico to visit her family.
Community Youth Organizer
Azucena began her volunteer efforts with CCA in 2015, where she formed part of CCA Youth Leadership Program, Youth for Change. She was hired in 2020 to form part of CCA’s Staff.
While she has always considered herself an introvert, her experience in the program has helped her grow and developed leadership skills that she is now successfully transferring to others. This has opened the door to many opportunities for her such as being one of the students selected to take part in Health Career Connection’s internship program and the Salinas Valley Leadership Academy; all while helping her discovering her passion: advocating for her community.
In 2017, she graduated from Hartnell College with an associate degree in Political Science and is currently attending California State University of Monterey Bay pursuing a Bachelor’s in Political Economy. Azucena always aspired to give back to her community after graduating and is now fulfilling her passion, mentoring future generations and working on social justice issues to help change the narrative of her community.
In her off hours she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
Community Organizer for Special Projects
Prior to joining to CCA, Martha Ortega worked for eight years as a Health Promoter for Reiter Affiliated Companies, In 2012 Martha Ortega came to CCA as a volunteer leader on one of CCA’s housing committees advocating for change in East Salinas. Shortly after Martha joined our volunteer Promotores program having completed the CCA Promotora de Salud training program that same year.
Martha has worked as a CCA Promotora de Salud employee since June 2020. She earned her CHW (Community Health Worker) certificate from Cabrillo College in 2020 and is proud to set an example for her kids about the importance of education.
Martha was born in Guanajuato Mexico and has lived in several states in the U.S. She is happy to be settled in Salinas, where she has raised four children. Martha loves CCA’s commitment to providing people the tools they need to make changes in their own lives, and she enjoys being out in the community interacting with a wide variety of individuals.
Community Housing Organizer
CCA Community Organizer Jesus Estrada’s first experience with CCA resulted in him able to get help for his son, who had been struggling with mental health issues.
Estrada contacted Norma Ahedo Juarez, CCA Promotores Program Director, who referred him to Natividad, where his son is now being treated.
Estrada’s path to becoming a Community Organizer, started where most organizers start — in the fields. As a fieldworker, he said he “saw a lot of wrongs.” So he joined the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations or FIOB (Frente Indígena Oaxaqueño Binacional), an organization that works to secure the rights of indigenous Mexicans living in the U.S. and Mexico.
He started as an organizer at FIOB and also worked for the California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., a non-profit legal and political advocacy group that promotes the interests of migrant laborers and the rural poor.
Born and raised in San Juan Pinas, Mexico, Estrada came to Monterey County in June 2019, is married and has five children.
What he likes about being a Community Organizer is that it allows him to communicate directly with the people and organize them to develop leaders in their communities.
In his leisure time, Estrada said he likes to spend time with his family, read newspapers and listen to regional music of his home state of Oaxaca.