Advocating for Children
Advocating for Children
While the Partnership for Children started as a program within the Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition (CHPCC) in 2007, it is now an independent nonprofit organization that works in partnership with CHPCC.
CHPCC has been advocating on behalf of children with life-threatening conditions and addressing gaps in services at the state and local level since 2001. In partnership with the California’s Department of Health Care Services, CHPCC launched a Medi-Cal Pediatric Palliative Care Waiver Program in 2009, enabling children to access a system of care combining curative or life-prolonging treatments with in-home hospice and palliative care services, without the hospice eligibility requirement of a six-month or less prognosis.
Yvette Padilla has served in the North Monterey County Unified School District for over 14 years as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent. In this position, she serves as a liaison to the school board, community members, attorneys, parents/families, and community based organizations. Prior to this position she served as the Executive Assistant for Central Coast Center for Independent Living (CCCIL), a grassroots advocacy organization, for 4 years. Yvette has worked and served on various community-based boards and organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Castroville Leadership Council, Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and as an Equal Opportunity Advisory Commissioner. Yvette is passionate about children’s health and education and works to improve the lives of children throughout her various roles within the community.
Cori Gerlach is a California native born and raised in Southern California moving to Santa Cruz in 1985 to attend UC Santa Cruz where she received her BA in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. After completion of college, she worked for a couple years as a Criminalist with the San Francisco Police Department Crime Lab and enjoyed the challenge and opportunity to collaborate with all departments and defend lab results with in-court testimony. In 1992-1993, Cori spent a year traveling around the world via bicycle riding over 10,000 miles with her boyfriend Matthew, now her husband of over twenty years. All this time spent together living on the same corner a block from the beach in Santa Cruz ended up being the perfect location to raise their two daughters.
Cori became interested in small business accounting and management in 1994 when she and Matthew wrote a business plan to open a small microbrewery. The venture did not work out, but Cori learned much about starting a business, processing payroll and producing financial reports. Cori has spent the last 21 years working in accounting positions for various businesses. Since June 2016, she has worked exclusively as an independent consultant, most recently focused on Venture Capital and early stage start-ups.
Cori was a volunteer champion for CHPCC for several years and was pleased to join the board in 2014 and in 2016 transitioned to remain on the board of the newly independent Partnership for Children organization. Cori is passionate about end of life care having witnessed her grandmother’s passing as a young adult and one of eight female relatives surrounding her bed with song while she took her last breath. Cori’s exposure to children’s hospice came as a member of a playgroup formed when her second daughter was born in 2000. One of the babies in the group was diagnosed with a terminal illness at two months old. The group of mothers rallied for the family and provided much needed support and care over six months and to this day all remain especially tight and connected over the experience.
Renee Berry is currently working with the Amazon Web Services Worldwide Public Sector Digital Innovation team. Renee’s experience in technology includes leading brand strategy for a Silicon Valley based software startup, directing communications at a Fortune 500 manufacturing company and managing a digital media consulting firm where she advised nonprofit and startup executives. Before entering technology, Renee’s experience in healthcare includes advocacy and board appointments for leading hospice organizations and roles in geriatrics and emergency medicine. Renee founded an interdisciplinary online public discussion in 2010 called the #hpm Tweet Chat which is still active today, has attracted thousands of participants and generated over 900 million impressions to raise awareness about the importance of issues in hospice and palliative medicine.
Angela has lived in the community for over 20 years, and has served most recently as a prolific fundraiser and community organizer for a myriad of non-profit organizations, helping most notably with the Tannery Arts Center, Save our Shores, and the Museum of Art and History (MAH). Angela also has an extensive public sector history serving with the Department of Justice combating human trafficking in Washington, DC and the mid-Atlantic as well as ensuring trust and safety for victims of cybercrime at eBay, Inc. in Silicon Valley. She is able to further her collaborative work amongst the public and private sectors in our community by serving on Supervisor Leopold’s staff in the First Supervisorial District.
Jennifer Ramirez, Executive Director founded Partnership for Children as its own independent organization in April 2016 and is responsible for the vision, strategy, and delivery of Partnership for Children services. Her passion for improving children’s access to medical care was born out of her personal experiences with her daughter, who has complex medical conditions. Jennifer became director of Partnership for Children in 2011 when it was a program of Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition (CHPCC), for which she served as Deputy Director. Over the first four years as director, Jennifer more than tripled the number of children and families served and the transportation and financial support services provided. As Deputy Director of CHPCC, Jennifer advocated statewide to increase access to pediatric hospice and palliative care services and to address gaps in services. Prior to CHPCC, Jennifer worked for over fourteen years in the nonprofit independent living movement, advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, including those with serious illnesses, at Central Coast Center for Independent Living (CCCIL). Jennifer spent the latter five years of her work with CCCIL as Deputy Director, overseeing internal operations and directing the Independent Living Services Program as well as the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program, expanding services to people with TBI, and facilitating support groups for TBI survivors. Jennifer served two terms as President of the Human Care Alliance (HCA), a partnership of over sixty nonprofit organizations in Santa Cruz County, California collaborating to maintain a comprehensive safety net of services for the community.
Michelle Carlos, Family Services Coordinator joined CHPCC officially in July 2014 after volunteering with the organization for nine months. Michelle brings over five years of experience in office support and project coordination, previously working at Natividad Medical Center in Monterey County. Michelle coordinates Partnership for Children direct family services, including transportation, financial support, and community referrals.