Our Team

Partners and Team

Help Me Grow San Mateo County is a collaborative system led by First 5 San Mateo County in partnership with community organizations AbilityPath and Stanford Children’s Health. Many other valued partners in the community are part of the Help Me Grow San Mateo County network and are vital to its success. Help Me Grow San Mateo County recognizes the tremendous value of all our partnerships, including those that provide funding. Together we are committed to achieving and maintaining a system that partners with parents to promote the full potential of all children birth through five.

Sonia Valenzuela Family Support Services Manager, AbilityPath

Trained in evidence-based family engagement methodologies, Sonia has been supporting families and providers for almost 18 years. She oversees care coordination for families served through Help Me Grow and helped to develop and launch the Call Center. She is passionate about serving parents and providers, and enjoys using her personal and professional experiences to bring communities together.

Martha Carcamo Health Care Provider & Community Outreach Manager

Martha Carcamo joined AbilityPath in December 2014 and oversees the supervision of the Help Me Grow Care Coordinators. She is bilingual in Spanish and brings over 15 years of experience working directly with children birth through five, and their families. Prior to joining Help Me Grow, Martha worked in home and center base settings with the Institute for Human and Social Development in San Mateo County. She is passionate about serving her community and partnering with families so they can feel empowered to advocate on behalf of their child.

Isabel Gonzalez Bilingual Care Coordinator

Isabel joined Abilitypath in April 2024 as a Bilingual Care Coordinator. She holds a B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University, as well as an A.S. in Early Childhood Education from De Anza College. Isabel has worked in San Mateo County since graduating college. Her work has focused on supporting families and children birth to 5 years old. Her work has consisted of being a Home Visitor, a Group Facilitator, and a Family Service Coordinator. Isabel is excited to continue her work in San Mateo County by supporting families and their little ones through Help Me Grow. Outside of work Isabel enjoys going to the beach, hiking, and checking out new coffee spots!

Danielle Chavez Bilingual Care Coordinator

Danielle Chavez joined AbilityPath in December 2021 as a Bilingual Care Coordinator. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and brings over 17 years of experience working directly with low-income families and children birth through five in San Mateo County. Prior to joining Help Me Grow, Danielle worked at Izzy, in San Mateo County as a Family Advocate and a Family Services Coordinator supervising Family Advocates. Danielle is passionate about serving, helping, and advocating for families in San Mateo County. Danielle enjoys cooking and watching movies and is especially proud of being a mother to her four fur-baby chihuahuas.

Angela Shaw Bilingual Care Coordinator

Angela Shaw joined Abilitypath in September 2023 as a Care Coordinator and is bilingual in Mandarin and English. She was born and raised in the Bay Area and received a B.A. in Psychology as a first-generation college student. Prior to joining Help Me Grow, Angela worked as a Research Assistant at SSU and supervised an undergraduate research lab, focusing on the impact of stressors on relationships. Angela is passionate about building connections with families and the community. Her hobbies are reading, playing the piano, and embroidery.

Larene Paré Program Manager, The Medical Home Project, Stanford Children’s Health (SCH)

Larene has spent 8 years at SCH training pediatric providers and their staff with developmental screening, TA, and resource information for children with complex medical needs. Larene is a wife and mother of three children, one of whom has a disability and has spent more than 20 years as an advocate on behalf of her daughter and families of children with complex medical needs. She holds a BA in Communications from SFSU and has held an extensive career in PR and media. Her passions include health and social justice issues, music, dancing, and the great outdoors.

Laurie Soman Senior Policy Analyst, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

Laurie A. Soman is Senior Policy Analyst with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, where her projects focus on children with special health care needs. She directs the Children’s Regional Integrated Service System (CRISS), a 31-county collaborative of county CCS programs, pediatric hospitals and provider organizations, and family support organizations that promotes a more effective, efficient, and family-centered CCS program. CCS is the state-county program that ensures access to pediatric specialty care for low-income children with complex medical conditions. Laurie also directs the Medical Home Project, which provides outreach, training and technical assistance to pediatric primary care providers including training and supporting pediatric sites in developmental screening and referrals for children from birth to age 5.

Emily Roberts, MSW, MPH Health and Development Specialist, First 5 San Mateo County

Emily brings nearly 20 years of experience in the child- and family-serving professions. With a passion for working with children and families, deepening community connections and promoting equity through increased access, Emily co-leads the Help Me Grow San Mateo County system. As a mother of two, Emily also knows firsthand the importance of having trusted professionals to turn to for advice and support.

Neel Patel, M.D. Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Pediatrics

Dr. Patel is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and has previously served as the Co-Chair for the Northern California Section on Young Physicians. His professional interests include pediatric infectious diseases, developmental screening and early intervention, co-management with specialists, ambulatory safety/quality, and the patient experience. Dr. Patel is fluent in English, Spanish, Hindi and Gujarati. The patient and family experience is what ultimately drives his passion in health care.

Carol Elliott Director, Family Support Services, AbilityPath

Also an elected Trustee of the San Carlos School District, Carol has been in nonprofit management since 1991. In her role with AbilityPath, she oversees administration, operations, fiscal and strategic planning for three programs including Help Me Grow. Carol is passionate about building systems that support all children reaching their fullest potential.

Cheryl Oku Consultant and Initiative Manager

For over 20 years Cheryl has supported quality improvement in programs and initiatives for children 0-5. Cheryl is the co-lead for the Help Me Grow in San Mateo County, coordinating and supporting the continuing development of our system. Her experience as a young child with special health care needs fuels Cheryl’s passion to ensure that every family receives the support they need.

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