Maria Isabel Serrano
Before I became a home care provider, I worked in housekeeping and retail at a clothing store. A friend of mine introduced me to my first two clients, and I became their IHSS provider in 2006. I worked for both of my original clients, two elderly people from my community, for five years.
Becoming an IHSS provider has taught me a lot about the value of in-home care. I’ve learned to be more conscious of the needs of others, and I’ve grown to understand that everyone’s health issues are unique and require individualized care. As an IHSS provider, I have more time to spend with my daughter than I did in my previous jobs. When I was a housekeeper, I didn’t have fixed hours, so it was tough for me to plan quality time with my loved ones.
Getting involved in the union has been life changing. When I first became an IHSS provider, I became a member of the California United Homecare Workers (CUHW). Being a union member further unlocked my passion for helping others, because it gave me the opportunity to support my fellow caregivers. I was excited when CUHW merged with UDW in 2015! It meant IHSS providers would gain more power, because there’s strength in numbers.
My goal as Chair in Imperial County is to continue to grow our union to make it stronger than ever. I also want to make sure UDW caregivers always have access to the support and services they need.