ERICA PADILLA-CHAVEZ TO VACATE ROLE AS CEO OF
PAJARO VALLEY PREVENTION AND STUDENT ASSISTANCE -
TAKES NEW POSITION AS CEO OF SECOND HARVEST
FOOD BANK IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
For Immediate Release
Monday, April 21, 2022
Watsonville, CA – In a bittersweet moment, PVPSA will be saying farewell to CEO Erica Padilla-Chavez, while congratulating her on her new position as CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Cruz County.
“It has been my honor to watch Erica grow PVPSA into the thriving non-profit that it has become, providing critical services to the children and families of the Pajaro Valley. Under her leadership, she has taken this organization from a staff of 20 serving about 2,500 children at two small locations, into a staff of over 65, serving 7000+ students and families with 3 locations including the state-of-the-art Mayou Family Counseling Center,” stated Jimmy Dutra, former Mayor of Watsonville, and Chair of the PVPSA Board of Directors. “To say she is leaving PVPSA better than she found it, is an understatement.”
Since 1991 PVPSA has been providing comprehensive health education, mental health services, substance abuse and intervention and prevention services, and direct counseling to the students and families of the Pajaro Valley. From its inception, PVPSA has maintained a leadership role in prevention and intervention. With a deep commitment to addressing the social determinants of health, the agency utilizes an upstream public health approach to achieving community health and wellness. This includes health related public policy advocacy efforts.
“I’m leaving a piece of my heart at PVPSA. For years, this organization has been quietly doing some of the most important work in our community. When the pandemic hit, we pivoted, and expanded services in a way that we didn’t even know possible,” said Padilla-Chavez. “I am so deeply proud of this organization, our incredible staff and our dedicated Board of Directors.”
At the Direction of the Board, PVPSA will appoint an interim CEO as they conduct a national search for a permanent CEO.
Founded in 1972, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County was the first food bank in California and is the second oldest in the nation. Erica Padilla-Chavez will be replacing long-time CEO Willy Elliott-McCrea who will be retiring from the position.
Erica Padilla-Chavez is a native of Santa Cruz County (Watsonville) and was recently named Woman of the Year for Assembly District 30 in March of 2022, as part of an annual Women’s History Month observance by the Legislative Women’s Caucus.