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April 2023 Masada Homes’ Newsletter

It was an eventful April 2023, and we have quite a few Masada updates to share. Keep reading to get the latest Masada Homes’ news!

🎉 3rd Quarter Staff Recognition

Congratulations to our 3rd Quarter Staff Recognition Nominees! Thank you for representing Masada core values of Strength-Based  Approach, Communication, Collaboration, Integrity, Respect and Accountability for the overall benefit of our clients and their families.
3rd Quarterl Staff Recognition Kimberly Rojas

Kimberly has been a facilitator for the Wraparound program since July 2020. Kimberly transitioned from the TBS department during a pandemic where she was unable to meet her co-workers face to face and yet was able to build strong relationships and collaborate effectively. Kimberly transitioned to her position as a Facilitator with ease. Kim consistently meets productivity expectations and has a notes-aging of one day.  She always follows through with all tasks right away and can be counted on to meet the families’ needs.

Kimberly has good rapport with clients and families. She is warm and welcoming in all team and CFT meetings, and has a way of making everyone feel heard.  No matter how challenging the situation is, Kim always persists and remains very professional. She is patient, understanding, and brings a positive spirit to her work. She regularly goes above and beyond to problem solve with families and make sure clients get the best services.  

3rd Quarterl Staff Recognition - Tricia Williams

Tricia Williams is a therapist in our FSP Child and Young Adult Program at the Gardena office. Tricia started with us at Masada in August of last year and has been exceeding productivity goals and completing notes in a timely manner since the beginning of her time with us. Tricia has a passion for working with our youngest clients, ranging from 2-5 years old. She has also been helping adult OCS clients and has the ability to collaborate with different systems, such as Regional Center, DCFS, and different school districts, to work with clients with challenging family dynamics and substance use problems.

Tricia assisted in facilitating our social skills group for clients ages 8-12 and offers support and consultation with the team as needed. She goes above and beyond for our clients and families and advocates for their well-being. Tricia is a giving and kind person with a positive spirit and high energy. She even decorates our FSP office for holidays, increasing morale among our team. We are grateful for her dedication, hard work, and commitment to our Masada families. Thank you for being a joy to supervise!

3rd Quarterl Staff Recognition - Margarita Martinez

Margarita has been with this agency for almost 14 years and has consistently performed well, especially in turning in her documentation on time. Her strengths include organizational skills, the ability to engage caregivers, and effective clinical interventions for her clients.

This past quarter, Margarita demonstrated consistency in meeting standards for notes aging and productivity, thanks to her strong work ethic and motivation to provide quality services for her clients. Margarita is a valuable asset to the Outpatient department in Gardena, and we consider ourselves lucky to have her.

3rd Quarterl Staff Recognition - Alicia Ramirez

During this quarter, Alicia has shown consistency in all phases of her work. She consistently completes her notes within one day and turns in other paperwork, such as intakes and 6-month reports, on time or very close to it. Alicia has also met or exceeded her productivity goals, despite having some challenging clients with difficult behaviors and conflicts with parents and caregivers. However, she has been able to work effectively with these clients and make progress in almost all cases.

Alicia is a consistent team player and works well with other staff, including our case manager/rehab specialist. During this period, she has also demonstrated creativity in therapy by developing new ways to expand upon the regular crafts and board games she uses with the children she works with, keeping her approach fresh and meaningful for them. Congratulations, Alicia, on a well-done quarter with the children and families you work with!

3rd Quarterl Staff Recognition - Anthony Gonzalez
Anthony Gonzales is a TBS Specialist at the Gardena Office and has been part of the TBS family since 2007. He consistently goes above and beyond in his role as a TBS specialist, setting a record-breaking one day progress notes aging, achieving 100% on-time progress notes, and exceeding Tier 2-higher productivity. Anthony excels at working with energetic and defiant children, meeting treatment goals, and consistently achieving success with caregivers and teachers in adopting behavioral interventions. In addition, he actively contributes during group supervision by sharing interventions he has learned with colleagues and offers support to anyone in a treatment team, both in-house and outside agencies. We would like to thank Anthony for his hard work and dedication to our clients and their families!
3rd Quarterl Staff Recognition -Oscar Penon

The Administrative Team would like to nominate Payroll and Accounting Specialist Oscar Penon, who works here in Gardena. Since taking on his new title, Oscar has embraced additional accounting responsibilities, including bank reconciliations and processing accounts receivable during the absence of Margaretta Flores.

He has also taken on special projects to improve the efficiency of all staff. Under Oscar’s leadership, payroll is accurate and on time, and his customer service skills include prompt follow-up, always delivered with a smile.

🎉 Congrats on Becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Ronald!

Elegant Black and Gold Certificates Ronald Fernandes
We’d like to extend a BIG congratulations to Rancho Therapist, Ronald Fernandes, for becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)!

💼🌟💻 Administrative Professionals Day

Administrative Professionals Day Graphic

Thank you to all of our administrative professionals for supporting our line staff and for keeping Masada Homes running smoothly!

Here is a special shoutout to you from our supervisors and executive team:

Happy Administrative Professionals Day, Melody!!! Thank you for everything that you do!!! HR has definitely become more manageable with all of your hard work and dedication. You are very much appreciated!!!

– Sharlene Hirai 

As we celebrate Administrative Professionals Day, we would like to take this opportunity to recognize the exceptional and dedicated work of our QI Specialists. Vivian Seo, Bree Lopez, Andrea Urrea and Lucy Mojica have worked tirelessly to provide support to our department and the entire organization. They assist us with enhancing efficiencies and improving processes. Their skills are essential to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently. We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude for their hard work, expertise and dedication. Thank you very much for all that you do. We truly appreciate you. 

– Iva Svetlikova, Lupe Ceballos, Cheyla Bellamy, Khai Nguyen, Linda Nakamura, Mike Ford & Tania Pineda

The exceptional team that I have had the pleasure of working with over the past month deserves recognition. Despite our short time together, I have been continually impressed by their professionalism, dedication, and contributions to Masada.The team’s hard work and attention to detail have been critical in ensuring that our programs have the smooth and efficient support they need. Their positive attitudes and willingness to go above and beyond have made a significant impact on our agency’s success throughout the years. It’s been a true pleasure collaborating with such a fantastic and talented team, and I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside them. Please join me in thanking our Program Support Services team for their hard work and commitment to excellence!

– Cheyla Bellamy

We are so appreciative of both our Support Specialist Supervisors, Alex Crooks and Cynthia Stagnaro, not just on Administrative Professionals Day, but EVERYDAY. They do so much on a daily basis and are “supportive” and available to all their respective supervisees as well as their respective programs. Between the two of them, with their cumulative knowledge and experience, there’s nothing they can’t solve or do together for the agency. We are so fortunate to have two very strong and capable individuals supporting our treatment teams and programs. They are the backbone of our agency.

– Khai Nguyen & Bernard Smith 

I appreciate all eight of Masada Homes Support Specialists. Their dedication and hard work helps to keep Masada running smoothly. They are always willing to assist treatment team members, multiple programs, departments and each other. Their ability to work with caregivers and clients in a warm welcoming manner keeps our customer service at a high standard. Each one has a unique personality that shines through their daily work. I truly appreciate each and every one of the Support Staff Team. Thank you all for everything you do!

– Cynthia Stagnaro

As we celebrate Administrative Professionals Day, we want to take this opportunity to thank our Support Specialists, QI Specialists, and RMD Specialists for their tireless efforts, dedication, and commitment to our mission. These wonderful people provide critical administrative support that keeps our organization running smoothly. We applaud them for their hard work and contributions to our organization, and we are grateful to have them on our team.

– Patricia Tindbaek

📝 National Occupational Therapy Month

National Occupational Therapy Month Graphic

The Child FSP team came together on March 8th to support our Parent Partner Esperanza Taylor and her daughter, Iyari, by celebrating Potocki-Lupski Syndrome (PTLS) Awareness Day with her and her loved ones at work. The Child FSP team and other staff wore these green T-shirts that Esperanza provided for the team and some of us made monetary donations to assist in the ongoing research for PTLS, as there is still a lack of information on this syndrome.

For more information, please visit: https://ptlsfoundation.org/ptls-info/ 

A major shoutout to Mike Heaton and the OT Department for contributing to this feature!

The Occupational Therapy Department is excited to celebrate OT Month. Every April we celebrate our profession by promoting awareness of the work we do for our communities. Occupational Therapists (OTs) help people across the lifespan to participate in the activities that make their lives meaningful through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. OT sessions tend to be very engaging and often consist of games and crafts which are designed specifically for the clients to work on areas of challenge. When an individual is experiencing symptoms of a mental health diagnosis, their ability to participate in the activities (occupations) that used to fill their day becomes limited. Occupational Therapists are here to help!

The Masada OT team consists of 7 full time Occupational Therapists. On the pediatric side, we are lucky to have Yoonie Eady (5 years with Masada), Sarah Chacon (1.5 years with Masada), Kady Dunn (1 year with Masada), and Pam Tschumi (1.5 years with Masada). On the adult FSP Norwalk team, we are thrilled to have our clients working with Lillian Garcia (2.5 years with Masada) and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Jessica Quirarte (10 months with Masada). Michael Heaton has been with Masada Homes going on 10 years and serves currently in the role of Occupational Therapy Program Manager.

Masada’s amazing OT team is planning on expanding our ability to positively impact our community during the upcoming year by hiring an OT supervisor and two new OT’s to work full time at Masada’s Rancho and Lancaster offices. The OT team also plans on creating sensory carts or rooms to be used by community members in each of the Masada office locations. The OT team further hopes to expand our reach by finding new and exciting ways to impact our clients lives through traditional treatment such as groups and creative methods through grant funding and fundraising.

Below are some interventions which are used with our community members (names have been changed for privacy).

OT Interventions

OT Interventions

This aromatherapy bracelet activity has been an engaging way to discuss the impact of sensory stimuli on our moods and energy levels. Kids create a diffuser bracelet before testing scents like lavender, sweet orange, and patchouli (only 2 clients so far have liked poor patchouli). During the discussion, they identify scents as alerting or calming and share any associations/memories that arise. 

Kendra who experiences social anxiety and low energy levels selected an energizing scent that reminded her of happy memories with her best friend. She later reported using her bracelet to boost her confidence while waiting in line for a normally dreaded activity: ordering food for herself at a restaurant! We continue to explore regulating sensory strategies as she takes more steps outside her comfort zone to achieve her goals.

Submitted by Sarah Chacon

OT Interventions

A teen client, Sandra, created this journal in a recent OT session. Sandra resides in a difficult living situation and is having challenges managing her time. She is also suffering from symptoms of depression.  Sandra was asked to create a collage for the front of her journal that is filled with things she enjoys and words that inspire her.

In future sessions the journal will be used for creating goals to help Sandra with time management and completing school assignments. It will also be used for journal writing.      

Submitted by Pamela Tschumi

Community Member Success with OT Treatment

weekly plan graphic

Bobbi was struggling with managing her time, overwhelmed with applying to colleges, navigating driving school, the permit process, and overall wanted more independence in her daily activities. I worked with Bobbi to identify her major goals and then collaborated with Cx to break down each goal into manageable steps using activity analysis. We identified Bobbi’s top 7 colleges to apply to, researched each deadline, and learned about the requirements for enrollment. Each week we determined tasks to complete for the week that were specific and manageable (i.e. create one sample art piece, write one creative essay). I introduced Cx to utilizing a planner and other organizational strategies to help her stay on track with her application tasks as well as her regular classwork, tests, and appointments. We also identified laundry and cooking as activities to increase her independence.

After working with Cx for the past 7 months I am happy to report that now Cx has developed a weekly laundry routine she engages in independently, cooks simple daily meals independently, has obtained her driver’s permit and is currently completing driver’s training classes. Cx is planning on accepting her top college choice in SF and feels so much more confident to live out on her own! 

 Submitted by Kady Dunn

Community Member Success with OT Treatment

Community Member Success with OT Treatment - Stitching

After participating in mental health treatment for over twenty years, Carina was first introduced to occupational therapy two years ago. Carina’s occupational therapy goals have focused on self-regulation through engagement in meaningful occupations (activities). Participating in weekly occupational therapy sessions reintroduced Carina to arts, crafts, meditation, deep breathing, cooking, and dancing. When occupational therapist Lillian Garcia planned an embroidery activity, she provided an opportunity for Carina to re-engage herself in participating in a meaningful activity Carina had learned when she was a child. Over the next few weeks, Carina shared beautiful memories about her life on the ranch and about her mother and sisters teaching her embroidery when she was only six years old.

The occupational therapy sessions became more meaningful when Carina took on the role of teaching Lillian advanced embroidery techniques. Lillian provided Carina with her own project and recommended she engage in the activity during Lillian’s time off. Upon return, Carina presented her completed work and expressed gratitude for reintroducing a meaningful occupation she had not participated in for more than twenty years. As Carina describes it, embroidery helps her forget her troubles, pushes her to remain present, and relaxes her mind.  

Submitted by Lillian Garcia

Pomodoro Technique

Shannon demonstrated difficulty with time management and attention leading to her tendency to procrastinate with reading assignments. Jessica, a certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, educated Shannon on the Pomodoro technique  to assist with her reading goals. Jessica and Shannon developed weekly reading deadlines while utilizing this technique to reach her  goal.

The Pomodoro technique is a time management strategy which uses a 25 minutes of work and 5 minute break time breakdown strategy to help people complete needed tasks. Shannon surpassed the weekly reading goal, was able to start the writing assignment associated with the reading task ahead of time and is projecting to complete the assignment two weeks before the assignment due date.

Submitted by Jessica Quirarte 

🎓💼🤝 Social Work Job Fair 2023 

Social Work Job Fair Graphic

Masada participated in 2023 Virtual Social Work Job Fair sponsored by APU, CBU, CSCBU, CSUDH, CSULB, CSUN, CSUSB, CSUF, LLU, UCLA, ULA, & USC with a co-sponsorship from NASW on Friday, April 14th.

Thank you to our directors–Efrain Ibarra, Cesar Gonzalez, Tiffany Flood, Makiko Hoichi, and Mariela De La Yncera, along with Kelly Asato–for hosting our session at the fair!

A special shout out to all our staff representatives who participated:

  • Betty Cervantes – Outpatient
  • Hao Nguyen – TBS
  • Kristiana Farris – Wraparound
  • Patricia Melendrez – Outpatient
  • Jessica Dennis – FSP
  • Brenda Martinez – Wraparound
  • Gisell Mesina – Outpatient
  • Kassandra Garcia Palacios – Wraparound
  • Martha Puron – Wraparound
We hope the students who attended gained insight from what led you to your current role and what you enjoy about your position to what your day-to-day work life looked like. We look forward to seeing our team grow. 

❤️ Rancho Social Skills/Coping Skills Group for Teens

Rancho Social Skills & Coping Skills Group for Teens Graphic
Rancho Social Skills & Coping Skills Group for Teens

Make a Referral: PUSD mental health supervisor will fax referrals for mental health services to our Masada office, per usual referral process, email referral to RanchoOutptIntake@masadahomes.org or fax to (909)428-2363.

For any questions, please contact Masada Program Manager, Vanessa Fornasier, LMFT

Cell Phone: 310-483-6033

Email: v.fornasier@masadahomes.com

🐶🐱🐰🐠 National Pet Day & National Pet Parents Day 

Happy National Pet Day & Pet Parents Day Graphic
In honor of celebrating national pet day and pet parents day, meet the pets of Masada Team!
Happy National Pet Day Instagram Post

My dog, Winston, is my favorite person to see after a long day of work since he is always ready to play fetch and relax with me. I first got him on July 3, 2020 during peak covid and right after I graduated from my undergrad at UCLA and we’ve been inseparable since!

This picture is from his second birthday last year. He turns three on May 19th!

Gohan and Trish Tindbaek
Gohan joined our family as a tiny pup in 2011, and instantly became a beloved member of the Tindbaek“pack.” He loves going for walks, chasing squirrels, and snoring loudly while his parents are working. We are so lucky to have him.
benny and bree lopez
This is my Benny! He came to me as a ‘hand me down” from my sister as she couldn’t care for him anymore. He is the sweetest, most patient, calmest dog I have ever met and he is my world!  
Louie, Mocha & Linda Nakamura
My family fell in love with Louie 14 years ago at a shelter. He’s been a sweet, funny, and loving member of our family ever since! My dog Mocha is cute too!

📅 Arab American Heritage Month 

Arab American History Month

There are over 3 million Americans with Arab roots and ancestries that can be traced to 22 countries. And about one-third of Arab Americans reside in the greater Los Angeles Area, Detroit, and New York. With such a diverse population, Arab American Heritage Month honors Arab Americans who have played an essential role in shaping American culture and society. In politics, Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress, helped introduce the resolution to Congress to proclaim April as National Arab American Heritage Month.

In the arts, Deana Haggag was President and CEO of United States Artists, a national arts funding organization based in Chicago, and has dedicated her career to amplify the voices of marginalized artists. In the sciences, Farouk El-Baz served as NASA’s lead geologist for the Apollo space program, mapping the moon’s surface and paving the way for successful landings. These individuals, along with countless other Arab Americans, demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.

For more information visit: https://arabamericafoundation.org/national-arab-american-heritage-month/ 

For more information visit: https://www.history.com/topics/21st-century/arab-american-heritage-month

📅 National Autism Awareness Month

Blue and Rainbow Autism Awareness Day Graphic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, about 1 in 36 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although the prevalence of ASD has been increasing in recent years, there is still much to learn. And thanks to improved diagnostic tools and greater awareness, more providers like Masada Homes are able to provide individuals with ASD and their families the support and resources they need. 

Celebrate National Autism Awareness Month in your community by participating in local events like this year’s Autism Speaks Walk, or check with your favorite sports team to see if they have partnered with an organization to raise awareness. Take every day as an opportunity to learn more about ASD and respect individual differences, to see the unique strengths of people with ASD.  

For more information and resources, please visit the following sites:




📅 National Child Abuse Awareness Month

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to acknowledge the impact of child abuse and the initiatives made in our communities to ensure children grow up in safe and loving homes. Even as the month draws to a close, it is important we continue to raise awareness and protect children from abuse and neglect. 

One way we can help to prevent child abuse is to learn about the diffrent types abuse (physical, emotional, neglect, and sexual abuse), recognize the warning signs, and report them to the appropriate authorities. When reporting child abuse, keep in mind to approach the situation carefully and thoughtfully. If you are unsure whether to report suspected abuse, please reach out to a professional or an agency that can provide guidance in these situations. 

Another way to be involved is to volunteer in various organizations that provide support and resources to families and children who have experienced abuse. Every little action counts to create a safer environment that all children deserve.

For more information on please visit https://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/

For a list of warning signs indiciating child abuse, please visit  https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/ap/childabusereportingguide.asp 

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline:

Dial or Text 1-800-4-A-CHILD or 1-800-422-4453

Or visit  www.childhelphotline.org

📅 Sexual Assault Awareness Month 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual assault is a prevalent issue that affects individuals of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. According to statistics compiled by RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), 1 out of 6 women and 1 out of 33 men in the US have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime–and this number is expected to increase in next few years. As alarming as this statistic is, it is crucial we do not dismiss them as just numbers and remember that behind these statistics is an individual who has gone through an unimaginable experience that has altered their lives.

Preventing sexual assault begins with creating a culture of consent and respect:

Ask for explicit consent and respect the other person’s boundaries

Call out toxic masculinity and harmful behaviors that contribute to a culture of violence

Educate ourselves and others on what constitutes sexual assault and how to intervene when we witness it

If and when a survivor decides to share their story, the first thing we can do is provide them with a safe space to share without judgment, listen with compassion and empathy, and believe them. We can offer resources such as counseling, medical care and legal support, but we should always respect that each survivor’s healing process is unique. Every day can be an opportunity to empower survivors to speak out, hold perpetrators accountable, and ultimately end the cycle of violence. Let us all commit to being part of the solution in creating a better future for everyone.

For more information, visit www.nsvrc.org/saam or https://www.rainn.org/

National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline

Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or 1-800-656-4673

 🚫📱 Distracted Driving Awareness Month 

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

🏆 March Raffle Winners 

March 2023 Raffle Invitation
We held our March Virtual Raffle on Friday, 4/21 to celebrate our hardworking staff.  Congrats to our 10 lucky raffle winners!

📅🤞 April Raffle Invitations

April '23 Raffle Invitation

Masada would like to cordially invite all staff to our April Virtual Raffle on Friday, 5/19 at 12:00 p.m.

woman working on a laptop

Open Positions at Masada

Below are the open positions we have at Masada Homes. If you know of someone who is a great fit be sure to let us know!

A referral bonus of $250 will be provided to any current employee who refers someone that gets hired by Masada.

Hawaiian Gardens Office:

  • Full-Time Community Therapist

Rancho Cucamonga Office:

  • Full-Time Parent Partner
  • Full-Time Case Manager
  • Full-Time Occupational Therapist

Norwalk Office:

  • Full-Time Support Specialist
  • Full-Time, Full-Service Partnership Therapist – Adult
  • Full-Time, Co-Occurring Disorders (COD) Counselor 

Bellflower Office:

  • Full-Time Child and Family Specialist/Rehab Specialist (Bellflower/Gardena)
  • Full-Time Wraparound Parent Partner
Gardena Office:
  • Full-Time Occupational Therapist
  • Full-Time Therapeutic Behavioral Specialist (TBS) Specialist
  • Full-Time Quality Improvement Clinician
  • Full-Time Community Therapist
  • Full-Time Therapeutic Behavioral Specialist (TBS) Supervisor
  • Full-Time Executive Specialist
  • Full-Time Wraparound Parent Partner

Lynwood Office:

  • Full-Time Wraparound Therapist
  • Full-Time Parent Partner 
  • Full-Time Case Manager
  • Full-Time Community Therapist

Lancaster Office:

  • Full-Time Case Manager
  • Full-Time Therapeutic Behavorial (TBS) Specialist
  • Full-Time Occupational Therapist
  • Part-Time Community Therapist (Hybrid)
  • Full-Time Community Therapist (Hybrid)
  • Full-Time Wraparound Therapist
  • Full-Time Wraparound/IFCCS Clinical Supervisor

Los Angeles Office:
No open positions at this time

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