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October 2023 Masada Newsletter

welcome to our monthly newsletter

Bringing You the Latest Updates, News, and Highlights! 

Embracing the beauty of autumn, we welcome you to the October edition of our monthly newsletter. As the leaves fall, we rise with excitement to share the latest updates and accomplishments within our Masada community. 

Let’s dive into the highlights!

happy thanksgiving

Thoughts of Gratitude from Masada’s Executive Team

As Thanksgiving draws near, Masada’s Executive Team took a moment to contemplate the reasons for our gratitude this year. Masada has made remarkable strides in pursuit of our strategic objectives, and our Executive Team takes great pride in the incredible progress our organization has achieved. It’s a poignant reminder that life’s journey is a blend of exhilaration and sorrow. While we celebrate our successes, we continue to miss our dear friend and colleague, Bernard Smith. We feel his presence as we celebrate an array of meaningful developments that embody our organization’s values and mission. This year, the following aspects have filled our hearts with appreciation:

  1. Community Expansion: We are profoundly grateful for the commitment shown by our Board and Executive Team in extending our reach. This year, we stepped out into the community to raise funds, recruit new Board Members, and establish partnerships that have enriched our communities. These efforts have not only enhanced our existing programs but have also given birth to new and innovative initiatives, furthering our impact on the community.
  2. Client Impact: The heart of our work lies in the incredible impact we have on our clients. Their lives are positively transformed through our services, and this is a testament to the dedication and passion our employees have to help those in need.
  3. Mission-Centered Approach: Our unwavering focus on our mission and results-based efforts remain at the core of our commitment to better serve our clients and communities. We express our sincere thanks to all of Masada’s employees for delivering high-quality care and their dedication to this cause.
  4. Productivity and Accountability: We celebrate the diligence and accountability of our staff, which has led to significant advancements in our operations. The commitment to excellence and open communication within our organization has created a robust framework for achieving our goals and objectives.
  5. Team Collaboration: The synergy that exists at all levels of our organization is something we hold dear. The incredible efforts of those working behind the scenes, combined with the talent and dedication of our direct-service providers, has resulted in a culture of collaboration that enables us to push through limits and continually strive for improvement.
  6. Honoring Smith’s Memory: As we journey through the year, we remember and honor our colleague who has passed away. Smith’s legacy continues to inspire us in our collective pursuit of a better future.
  7. Board and Capstone Guidance: Our Board and Capstone partners have been instrumental in guiding our strategic direction. We are grateful for their insight, wisdom, and unwavering support as we navigate the path to success.
  8. Talented Professionals: We are indeed fortunate to work among a group of exceptionally talented professionals. Their commitment to serving our community and their dedication to our common goals are the pillars upon which our organization stands.
  9. Creating a Positive Environment: We are thankful for the opportunity to create a positive and nurturing place for our staff to thrive, where each member feels valued, supported, and appreciated.
  10. Commitment to Excellence: Our commitment to excellence is unwavering. We are thankful for the high standards we uphold, which drive us to continually improve our services and programs.
In summary, as we give thanks this year, we recognize the power of unity, commitment, and shared goals. Masada’s journey is shaped by the combined efforts of our dedicated employees and the support of our community. Together, we will remain focused on our mission to provide comprehensive, solution-based mental health and social services that enhance the lives of children, youth, families, and adults, while contributing to the overall well-being of communities.
fresh faces, new energy

Change is a constant in the world of business, and here at Masada, we embrace it with open arms. Our team is continually growing and evolving, and it’s with great excitement that we introduce our newest member:

  • Araceli Villarreal, Gardena Occupational Therapy

We’re excited to have her join us, bringing her unique talents and perspectives to our Masada family. Together, let’s extend our warmest greetings and support Araceli as she embarks on her journey with us.

work anniversaries

At Masada, we believe that every day spent working here is a journey filled with growth, learning, and achievement. Today, we are delighted to introduce a special newsletter feature, “Work Anniversaries,” where we take a moment to celebrate and honor the remarkable individuals who have dedicated their time, energy, and expertise to our organization.

In this feature, we shine a spotlight on those who have reached significant milestones in their careers with us, whether it’s their first year, fifth year, tenth year, or beyond. These anniversaries not only represent the time they’ve spent with us but also the incredible contributions they’ve made to our collective success.

5th Year

  • Theresa O’Raidy, Lynwood Community Services Clinical Supervisor
  • Veronica Sanchez, Rancho TBS Specialist
Congratulating those celebrating work anniversaries this month. Your contributions make Masada an amazing place to work!
employee achievements

At Masada, we have always believed that our employees are our greatest assets. Each day, you bring your dedication, passion, and expertise to contribute to our shared success. Today, we are thrilled to introduce a special newsletter feature, “Employee Achievements,” where we take a moment to celebrate the remarkable professional milestones our team members have reached.

In this feature, we turn the spotlight on those who have recently achieved significant professional milestones, such as graduating, obtaining a license, earning a certification, or reaching other career-defining accomplishments. These achievements are not just personal victories; they are a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence that defines our Masada family.

April McClellan

Please join me in congratulating April McClellan in her new role as the FSP Program Manager. Since joining the FSP Team as a Clinical Supervisor in 2021, April has showcased her dynamic clinical and leadership skills within the Adult FSP program. 

As the FSP Program Manager, April will expand her leadership and will manage all programs located at Norwalk along with the Child & Young Adult FSP program. April’s role will be to support the successful integration of treatment services for all clients and all issues related to contract compliance within the FSP, AOT, & OSC programs. 

April is an asset to the FSP team. We will look forward to her leadership and dedication to the FSP program and the communities that we serve. Congratulations April, we wish you the best in your new role!

martha gomez

A Big Thanks to Martha: Our Program Support Rockstar

We’d like to draw attention to the outstanding efforts of Martha, our Program Support Specialist, who is currently extending her commitment well beyond the confines of her role.

Due to a temporary shortage of staff, Martha supports the front desk at our Gardena office, is actively involved in the task of scheduling our therapy rooms, and responsible for disseminating the site calendar, a crucial instrument in keeping our team coordinated and informed.

Martha’s actions serve as a testament to her dedication, versatility, and commitment to the organization.

sandra molina


Congratulations to Sandra Molina for passing the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification (PSSC) exam on Thursday October 26th.

We are incredibly proud of your dedication and your hard work inspires us all. Let’s celebrate these milestones and look forward to more accomplishments.

bladimir polio

Bladimir Polio, one of our Outpatient Case Managers, recently went above and beyond to make a significant impact on the lives of our clients.

Bladimir successfully secured a valuable resource for our clients. He managed to obtain 30 pairs of shoes for several of our Outpatient clients from Shoes that Fit, all in the span of just one week. To achieve this, Bladimir worked collaboratively with our therapists and other team members involved in the case. Together, they gathered the shoe sizes for all the clients.

But the story doesn’t end there. Bladimir’s commitment extended even further as he drove to Claremont to personally collect the shoes. We would like to extend our gratitude to Bladimir and the collaborative efforts of all the team members that worked alongside him.

Open Minds Technology and Analytics Institute

Open Minds Technology and Analytics Institute

On October 26, 2023, Masada’s Chief Development Officer, Patricia Tindbaek, Chief Quality and Compliance Officer, Iva Svetlikova and Director of Information Systems and Analytics, Khai Nguyen presented on Masada Community Mental Health Services’ Journey to Excellence through Technological Advancement at the 2023 Open Minds Technology and Analytics Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Masada’s team was honored to contribute to a panel discussion on Preparing for CalAIM – Creating the Tech Infrastructure Needed for Success in a Population Health and Performance -Based Service Delivery System alongside California Health Collaborative and Pacific Clinics. Masada’s team had the privilege of sharing our organization’s rich history and recent accomplishments. Masada’s team highlighted our successful expedited Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation. Masada’s team underscored our successful CalAIM Payment Reform implementation which has enabled us to drive transformative changes in our approach to healthcare management. 

Our newly acquired contracts with Managed Care Plans to provide Enhanced Care Management in Los Angeles County were also highlighted, reflecting out dedication to expanding our reach within the community. Finally, Masada’s team described our current technology infrastructure and our ambitious plans for technology enhancements. Masada’s team learned from their California colleagues about their organizations’ journeys with CalAIM, ECM and technology.

The 2023 Technology and Analytics Institute focused on the technology tools and analytics that organizations need to improve performance, streamline decision-making, and add value to their care delivery system. Presenters ranged from behavioral health providers, and health plans to investors. The latest trends in Behavioral Healthcare were presented along with specific tools and strategies regarding data governance, consumer technologies to enhance care delivery and leveraging technology to manage quality. 

The biggest buzz was AI. Emerging technologies, or intelligent automation, include AI, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NPL) and more. The impact of these innovations in elevating service quality and minimizing human error underscored the immense potential of integrating these technologies within our operational framework.

Masada’s team had the privilege of engaging with Qualifacts’ CEO, John Schoeller to discuss Masada’s journey with CareLogic, our visionary plans for technology enhancement and to provide feedback.

Energized and inspired by the wealth of knowledge acquired at the institute, Masada’s team is poised to implement cutting-edge tools and strategies that will further amplify the exceptional work that defines Masada’s dedication to transformative healthcare solutions.

quarterly staff recognition
It’s time to celebrate our outstanding employees! The Quarterly Staff Recognition Award honors the individuals who embody Masada’s values and have gone above and beyond to make a difference.
stan benoit

Words from his Supervisor, Vanessa Fornasier: Stan Benoit has been one of our clinical supervisors in the Rancho Outpatient program for the past 6 years. He had been with several agencies as a clinical supervisor for various types of DMH programs, prior to coming to Masada. Therefore, he has a wealth of knowledge and experience that he brings with him in working with our program and with our staff. He has a great ability to tune into his staff to identify their strengths, their needs, and areas of growth that allows them to be successful in achieving their expectations for their positions. He always receives positive feedback from his staff in the way he works with them. 

Stan also runs the monthly MAP groups with our therapists. He provides ongoing support to all of the Masada outpatient Case Managers by facilitating weekly groups with them. Stan has proven to be flexible in helping out in areas where it is needed. For example, he contributes yearly to maintain a positive and collaborative community partnership with the Pomona Unified School District by participating in their teacher development day. At this year’s teacher development day this past September, Stan presented to the teachers on Authentic Attunement with Students in order to help enhance their relationships with their students. 

We are greatly appreciative in having Stan as part of our team all of these years and how he has contributed in so many valuable ways.

cynthia aguilar

Words from her Supervisor, Juan Pena: Cynthia has been working for Masada Homes for over six years. She is a reliable clinician who takes the time to get to know her assigned clients at the same time building rapport. Cynthia continually has great outcomes with her client’s treatment. 

Due to her great clinical skills, Cynthia is relied upon to work with some of the tougher cases. Cynthia also is a team player, her colleagues show respect and know they can rely on her for feedback, guidance or support. Moreover, Cynthia volunteered to become a preceptor for student interns. For the past 4 months, Cynthia has been able to provide guidance and support to MSW students while at the same time managing her own caseload. Recently Cynthia took the field instructor training and is ready to be a field instructor.

blanco toro

Words from her Supervisor, Mireya Romero: I am honored to spotlight Wraparound Parent Partner Blanca Toro, who became an integral part of our MASADA team in 2017. Blanca embodies the core attributes of resilience, determination, and exceptional service delivery. Blanca’s determination and advocacy have been an inspiration to us all. She has excelled in her role and has done so with an unwavering commitment to empowering others through her own life experiences. Blanca has utilized her personal experiences to connect with those she serves on a profound level, showing empathy, understanding, and genuine compassion. 

In every interaction, Blanca has delivered exceptional service and left a lasting impact on the lives she touches. Her commitment to our mission is not just a job; it’s a calling, and it’s evident in every moment of her service. A few months ago, Blanca also took part in a historical moment for the State of California as she became part of the Group of Parent Partners to pass the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist certification exam. So, today, we celebrate not just an employee but a beacon of strength & determination and a shining example of how personal experiences can be a powerful force for positive change. Please join me in recognizing and applauding Blanca for her remarkable contributions and the inspiration she provides to the families, communities, and us all.

Thank you, Blanca, for your dedication and unwavering commitment to empowering others.

elixed nava

Words from her Supervisor, Esmeralda Diaz: I am happy to recognize Elixed Nava, who has been with Masada Homes for 1 year & 10 months. Elixed is a team player and a strong advocate for all of our clients. Her spirit is soothing to our clients and her presence is very compassionate with our clients and caregivers. Elixed has been exceeding in her productivity going over her 50 %. She is excited to work with our teen and youth population and is able to form a connection from the beginning. 

Elixed has been on a few very challenging cases and has shown great courage and determination. She is working with one of our young adults that identifies as LGBTQ, who was struggling with psychosis and hx of aggression and client is now more independent and attending groups. Elixed’s diligence in linking clients to community activities such as boxing classes, anger management, or advocating for more support from DCFS based on client’s needs is outstanding! Elixed has a really good work ethic as she consults with the team regularly and is consistent in conducting CFT’s especially when there have been pertinent changes. 

We are so lucky to have you as a part of our team. Elixed is very sweet and caring and our FSP Child & Young Adult team is very blessed to have you in the team.

veronica sanchez

Words from her Supervisor, Claudia Bentivegna: Veronica Sanchez is a TBS Specialist at the Rancho Cucamonga office and is one month shy of her 5th year with Masada. Veronica’s progress notes aging at the end of the first quarter is below agency requirement, she exceeded her selected Tier by almost 10% for the same period with a 98.7% of progress notes on time, and Veronica self-countersigns progress notes. 

Veronica has consistently performed well and has great strengths by giving effective behavioral interventions for her clients and caregivers, outstanding organizational skills, and is consistently a team player by offering support to her peers. Veronica engages clients using creativity techniques to help them regulate, such as using arts and crafts, creating tangible items, beaded bracelets, and beaded keychains to support client’s wellness in treatment. 

Veronica’s enthusiasm and consistency engages caregivers’ participation and practice of TBS interventions, through role play, modeling. Veronica is able to make families feel comfortable, validated, and supported, setting up clients for a successful termination of treatment.

guadalupe ceballos

Words from her Supervisor, Iva Svetlikova: It is with great pleasure that we present the Quarterly Recognition Award to Lupe Ceballos, Manager of Quality Assurance and Training for her outstanding contributions to the entire QA/QI team as well as the organization. Lupe has consistently gone above and beyond, demonstrating dedication and passion for her work. Lupe contributed greatly with her innovative problem solving and creative approach to the CalAIM payment reform implementation. She has worked on numerous time sensitive projects during this quarter and her exceptional commitment to complete all projects has been instrumental in our organization’s success.

Lupe’s diligent coordination of audits has ensured our operations remain efficient and compliant. As a Masada MAP Agency Trainer, Lupe has supported our clinicians in their certification and recertification process. She is currently leading our agency’s effort to train two QA/QI Clinicians to become MAP Agency Trainers. Lupe has done an excellent job developing her team and onboarding new members of the team. Lupe’s ability to lead and inspire her team fosters a collaborative and supportive work environment, reflecting the core values of our organization.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Lupe for her continuous commitment and invaluable contributions to the success of our organization.

summer fun photo contest
We are thrilled to announce the winners of our Summer Fun Photo Contest! We received an overwhelming number of incredible submissions, each capturing the essence of summer in its unique way. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared their cherished moments with us.
summer fun catching frogs
summer nights
life's a beach & we're playing on the sand
Once again, thank you to everyone who participated in our Summer Fun Photo Contest. Your enthusiasm and creativity have made this contest a memorable celebration of summer. We look forward to more exciting events in the future.
monthly raffle

September Raffle Winners


september raffle winners

We held our September Virtual Raffle on Friday, October 20th to celebrate our hardworking staff. Congrats to our 10 lucky raffle winners!

October Virtual Raffle Invite

october raffle

Masada would like to cordially invite all staff to our October Virtual Raffle on Friday, November 17th at 12:00PM.


Lancaster Trunk or Treat

lancaster trunk or treat

On October 31st, 2023, our Lancaster office got into the Halloween spirit and joined in the festivities at the Antelope Valley MHC 5th Annual Trunk or Treat event. The inspiration (and candy) for this event came from none other than our very own Parent Partner, Monica Nunez. We extend sincere thanks to Monica for her exceptional teamwork and dedication.

Accompanying Monica were Nancy Valdivia and Eliana Jurado, members of our SA 1 Wraparound Team. Their enthusiasm and spooky flair significantly contributed to the success of our community event.

We want to express our appreciation to our Wrap/IFCCS team for uniting and making this Halloween event a memorable adventure.


Rancho Halloween Potluck

rancho potluck halloween photo

On October 31st, the Rancho office held their Halloween potluck. Their spirited celebration featured a potluck filled with delicious dishes and treats. But what’s Halloween without a costume contest! Maria Salgado won first place and Anthony Botrus won second place.


Gardena Halloween Potluck

happy halloween gardena

Gardena held their Halloween Potluck on Tuesday, October 31st, 2023.

No tricks at this Halloween potluck, because everyone who joined were all in for a treat!

Before the potluck, the Masada team resumed its annual Hall-oween trick or treat event with the kids at Therapy West at our Main St. building. Kelly Asato and Iva Svetlikova provided Masada staff with the candy and we stood waiting at each office door to pass it out. It was such a delight to see all the kids dressed up in adorable and funny costumes. Buckets were filled to the brim with chocolate and gummies that we hope the kids will enjoy.

Afterwards, Masada staff gathered at the 108 building to enjoy our haul of delicious entrees, side dishes, and dessert. Our food table was decked out like the Grand Hall from Harry Potter, sans the floating pumpkins. Our menu ranged from sweet and savory pies to cute desserts like Melody’s eyeball themed oreo truffles.Everyone was able to chat about their wicked costumes and their Halloween plans for the evening. Towards the end, we held a costume contest with the QA/QI department scoring the top three prizes.

Many thanks to Alex Crooks for carving out time to organize and host this party. And thank you to everyone for bringing so many delectable goodies and contributing to a howling good time!

a salute to our veterans

Honoring Our Heroes: Veterans at Masada

As we approach Veterans Day, let’s take a moment to recognize and honor the brave men and women who have served our nation. At Masada, we are privileged to have veterans as part of our team, and we want to celebrate their dedication, leadership, and the unique perspectives they bring to our workplace.

Meet Our Veterans: In this special feature, we’d like to introduce you to some of our colleagues who have served in the armed forces.

  • Krystine Curtis, U.S. Army Reserve, 9 years – Part of our Lynwood Wraparound Team.
  • Terri Edwards, U.S. Navy, Petty Officer Second Class – Part of our Gardena Outpatient Team
  • Esmeralda Amaya, U.S. Army, Staff Sergeant – Part of our Lynwood Outpatient Team
  • Jessica Dennis, U.S. Army – Part of our Norwalk FSP Team
Thank you to our veterans for your service, sacrifice, and the strength you bring to our team. Your stories and experiences enrich our company, and we are grateful for your dedication.
masada and aatbs

Masada has partnered with AATBS, the leading provider of exam prep and continuing education for behavioral and mental health students and professionals, to offer you discounted access to their industry-leading products and services. This benefit is being provided to you based on our relationship with AATBS and is available to you exclusively because you are an employee at Masada Community Mental Health Services. Please contact Martha Gomez at m.gomez@masadahomes.org for more information.

As a friendly reminder, AATBS is an online resource, designed to support clinicians in their preparation for the Law & Ethics and Clinical Exams. Masada’s clinicians can easily access study materials for one-week periods, subject to availability. Approval from their respective supervisors is all that’s needed to ensure they’re well-prepared for their exams. To request these valuable study materials, clinicians can complete the AATBS Exam Study Material Request Form.

open positions at masada

Hawaiian Gardens Office:

  • Full-Time Community Therapist

Rancho Cucamonga Office:

  • Full-Time Support Specialist
  • Full-Time Parent Partner

Norwalk Office:

  • Full-Time Full Service (FSP) Clinical Supervisor
  • Full-Time Full Service Partnership (FSP) Adult Case Manager

Bellflower Office:

  • Full-Time Wraparound Parent Partner

Gardena Office:

  • Full-Time Community Therapist
  • Full-Time Full-Service Partnership Therapist – Child
  • Full-Time Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS) Supervisor
  • Full-Time Quality Improvement Specialist
  • Full-Time Support Specialist
  • Full-Time IT Manager (Hybrid)
  • Full-Time Full Service Partnership (FSP) Parent Partner
  • Full-Time Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS) Specialist
  • Full-Time Wraparound Parent Partner

Lynwood Office:

  • Full-Time Clinical Supervisor 
  • Full-Time Wraparound Therapist

Lancaster Office:

  • Full-Time IFCCS/Wraparound Therapist (Flexible Schedule) 
  • Full-Time Wraparound Team Supervisor

As we embrace the season of gratitude and giving, let’s reflect on the positive impact we create together. Thank you for being an essential part of Masada.

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