WATSONVILLE—Assemblymember Robert Rivas has named Erica Padilla-Chavez, the CEO of Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, as Woman of the Year for Assembly District 30.
The March 30 announcement came as part of an annual Women’s History Month observance by the Legislative Women’s Caucus.
“Erica has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the region,” said Rivas, adding that she is a “true public servant, embodying her motto ‘service above self.’”
As the CEO of Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Padilla-Chavez leads the nonprofit in providing behavioral health and youth prevention services to more than 7,000 youth and their families in the Pajaro Valley.
To help South Santa Cruz County communities during the pandemic, Padilla-Chavez convened and led a coalition of more than 30 nonprofit and governmental organizations named the South County Covid Triage Group. The effort provided financial and legal assistance, housing retention and behavioral health support to residents impacted by Covid-19.
In addition to serving as a member of the Hartnell Community College District Governing Board since 2009, Padilla-Chavez also is an active community member in Soledad, where she resides.
“Together, we have led with compassion, integration and genuine collaboration to aid our communities in multifaceted ways. There is no greater gift in life than to use our skills to make other people’s lives better,” she said. “Thank you Assemblymember Rivas for acknowledging that a collective approach to achieving community wellness is the way forward.”
The 30th District includes all or portions of the cities and towns of Aromas, Big Sur, Chualar, Gilroy, Greenfield, Gonzales, Hollister, King City, Morgan Hill, Salinas, San Martin, San Juan Bautista, Soledad, Spreckels and Watsonville.