THE CCA TEAM
Thank you for your dedicated work
We celebrate your character and positive effect you have on others.
Natalie R. Herendeen
Executive Director | Center for Community Advocacy
A lifelong Salinas Valley and Central Coast resident, Natalie Herendeen has been a licensed attorney since 2014. Natalie was born and raised in the Salinas Valley where most of her family continues to live. Natalie came back to the Valley once completing law school to work within her community and improve housing conditions for working families and seniors while working at Legal Services for Seniors from 2014 until 2020. In 2016, while working at Legal Services for Seniors, Natalie first worked with CCA on a mass eviction case and successfully helped 50 people stop their wrongful evictions and secure affordable housing.
In addition to being the Staff Litigation Attorney, and then later the Director of Litigation for Legal Services for Seniors, Herendeen managed her own practice, Herendeen Legal from 2016 to 2021. She also volunteered with Lyceum Mock Trial from 2017 until to present, as a coach for four years, and thereafter as a judge. Natalie also volunteered for Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, helping walk dogs for seniors and people with disabilities.
Natalie earned her bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara in 2006, graduating with honors, Phi Beta Kappa; and then continue on to complete her Juris Doctor degree in 2014 from Santa Clara University School of Law. In her leisure time, Natalie enjoys hiking, gardening, wrangling her four dogs and spending time with her family.
Sabino F. Lopez
Executive Advisor & Mentor | 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.
Norma Ahedo Juarez
Lead 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, Norma loves to stay at home with her family, including Lola, her beloved boxer. Norma also loves to take time to visit Mexico to see her family and friends.
Lead 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.
Lead 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.
Lead 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.