Shaun Griffin – Executive Director
Shaun Griffin is the co-founder and director of Community Chest. Shaun has spent a lifetime trying to build bridges where there were none for all members of the human community. During the mid-80s he worked in Stanford University’s foremost community outreach program, starting several disability initiatives on that campus. He later founded a minority youth outreach program for four universities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Shaun is also a published author. His last book of poems was Bathing in the River of Ashes, published by the University of Nevada Press in 1999. Death to Silence (translations from the Chilean poet, Emma Sepúlveda) was released by Arte Público Press in 1997. In 1995, he received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. For many years he has taught a poetry workshop at Northern Nevada Correctional Center and published an annual journal of their work, Razor Wire. Shaun Griffin is the co-founder and director of Community Chest. Shaun has spent a lifetime trying to build bridges where there were none for all members of the human commogram for four universities in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2004, he received the Mike O’Callaghan Humanitarian Award, named after the former Nevada Governor.
He has lived in Nevada since 1978— except for the four years when his wife was in graduate school in the Bay Area. He and his family live in Virginia City, at the western-most edge of the Great Basin.
Erik Schoen – Deputy Director
Erik Schoen has been a professional counselor since receiving his Masters Degree from Arizona State University in 1993. He received his first state license in Oregon as a Licensed Professional Counselor in 1996, his second in Nevada as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor in 1998. He is also a state-certified supervisor for interns practicing to be Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors. Since 1993, Erik has worked in drug and alcohol treatment facilities (both inpatient and out), domestic violence treatment centers for both women and men, agencies for the treatment of chronic mental illness, private practice, and more. Eric has helped many individuals to successfully address their substance abuse issues – ranging from alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, hallucinogens, cocaine, and methamphetamine . He has also helped high schools in developing a comprehensive and coordinated approach to prevention and treatment by focusing on resiliency factors, utilizing peer leaders, and implementing school assistance programs. Erik is currently the Community Development Director at Community Chest where he has been for over 10 years. In his current capacity, Erik works within communities to help develop positive, strengths-based, and collaborative approaches to addressing myriad issues that face communities.
Amber Hadley – Accountant and Business Manager
I was born and raised in Northern California with my huge Italian family. In 2003, I attended Heald Business College where I received my degree in Business Management with emphasis on accounting. In 2006, after I graduated, I moved to Reno Nevada. I have worked in accounting in some capacity for over 15 years, but took a hiatus to stay at home with my triplets until they were school aged. In 2015 we moved to Virginia City, where we currently reside. I enjoy all that Northern Nevada has to offer. My passions include hiking and camping, rock and arrowhead hounding, and exploring the back country. In 2016 I was given the opportunity to work with Community Chest. This amazing organization has given me the balance in my life that I’ve always craved. While I work behind the scenes, I am still exposed to the wonderful workings of our team, and do what I can to make sure I support them.
Melanie Lopez – Operations Manager
Melanie is a California native who adopted Nevada as her home state and loves learning about its geography, people, and colorful history. Melanie’s interest in social justice issues took root in her early teenage years, cultivated by her studies at Truckee Meadows Community College, and blossomed into a career in faith-based community organizing while she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), with a minor in Sociology. At the university, Melanie was one of a group of women who founded the Female Sexuality Workshop at UNR, an ASUN club program based on a student-taught course at UC Berkeley. Melanie has also been a frequent guest panel speaker in university HDFS classes on such topics as sexuality, parenting, diversity, and anti-racism.
Melanie’s background also includes working for media, law enforcement, and social services; as well as serving as a political campaign director. Prior to joining Community Chest, Melanie contracted with the state to coordinate grant activities for the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.
Melanie is the proud mother of two amazing children and three silly cats. Her favorite activities include road tripping and sightseeing, cooking, thrifting, visiting museums and cultural attractions, camping, floating the Truckee River, sunbathing and swimming at Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake, and doing her part to help make the world a better place for the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Taylor is a Nevada native, born and raised throughout Reno-Sparks. She attends the University of Nevada Reno pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in substance abuse treatment and prevention. She enjoys the outdoors such as hiking, camping, bike riding etc., and spending time with her family and friends.
Mental Health & Wellness
Adrienne Sutherland – Clinical Director/Therapist
Adrienne has lived in Nevada since 1998 and is the mother of two boys. She enjoys hiking, snowboarding, reading and traveling. She has been in the counseling field since 2007, beginning her career at the University of Nevada, Reno with a program designed to provide extra support to students as they endeavored to earn a bachelor’s degree. She later worked on a collaborative grant between the court system, university, and law enforcement to provide drug and alcohol treatment to students who had incurred substance related infractions. She has also worked with children and adolescents with co-occurring disorders at a local residential treatment facility in an effort to promote healthier family systems and positive ways of coping with stress and trauma. She has been with Community Chest since 2011 and during that time has expanded her scope to include working with victims of domestic violence and others suffering from trauma. She has a background in Cultural Anthropology, as well as a Master of Arts in Counseling and Educational Psychology, focusing on school and mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment and prevention.
Jinan began her position with Community Chest as an intern for the CASAT program at UNR. She is now a Certified Drug and Alcohol Intern for the State of Nevada and is a part of the clinical team at Community Chest. She is currently going to graduate school for Counseling and Educational Psychology and has a passion for advocacy.
Clare Fite – Therapist
Clare Fite moved from the Bay Area to Nevada in 2006. She enjoys riding horses, camping with her husband and three dogs and cooking. She has worked with children and adolescents in a multitude of capacities since 2001. While working as a substitute teacher for Washoe County School District, she discovered that what children and adolescents needed was stronger emotional tools to handle life’s hardships. It was then that she decided to return to school to obtain her master’s degree in Professional Counseling so that she could one day focus on treating both mental health and substance use issues. In 2013, she became a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern and in 2014 she received an Advanced Certificate in Addiction Treatment and Prevention from the University of Nevada, Reno. Clare has worked with both adolescents and adults in residential and outpatient settings as well as has aided in developing adolescent programs for treatment facilities. Clare is currently working as part of the clinical team at the Community Chest Health and Wellness Hub.
Maggie Dickson – Clinical Professional Counselor (CPC) Student
Maggie is a third generation Nevadan born and raised in Reno/Sparks. She enjoys spending time with her family, camping in the summer and tinkering around on her vintage Volkswagens. Maggie joins the Community Chest clinical team as a CPC Student Intern. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arizona State University and is currently finishing her master’s degree with Walden University.
Kallie Day – Case Manager
G.A.M.E Program Director
Hi, I’m Kallie! I am a native Nevadan, born in Carson City and raised in Silver & Virginia City. With a large and boisterous family, I pride myself on those that I surround myself with. I have been lucky to attend some great educational institutions. I graduated from Dayton High School, went to Western Nevada College and eventually gained my Bachelors Degree with an emphasis in psychology from Sierra Nevada College. I have always worked with and around youth. In the future I plan to attain my Masters Degree. I would also like to spend more of my leisure time traveling.
Kelly Ibarra – Case Manager
Adult Employment, Domestic Violence Advocate
Kelly Ibarra grew up in Southern California moved to Nevada in 1990. Kelly has been married to her wonderful husband for 29 years they have two wonderful children a Son, and daughter. Kelly and her husband have been blessed with two beautiful Granddaughters. Kelly has 31 years of experience working in the Social Work field from working with individuals with Physical and Mental disabilities, Elders, Domestic Violence, Alzheimer’s and for the past 2 years as an Employment Case Manager. Kelly was nominated for the “Visionary award” through NNADV. Kelly enjoys dancing, the outdoors, family, and friends. Kelly is bi-lingual fluent in Spanish.
Kelly is a Case Manager for the Employment Assistant Program at Community Chest. Kelly has a passion for helping others and looks forward to helping the residents of Virginia City and surrounding rural Counties to find employment and overcome barriers.
Clarissa Bell – Case Manager
Clarissa was born in Kansas and grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. She graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor degree in Community Health Science and an emphasis in Public Health from the University of Nevada, Reno. After a semester-long internship at Community Chest Inc. she returned as an employee and began working as a Case Manager for the Adult Works Program serving clients in Fernley, Silver Springs, and Virginia City. Clarissa enjoys going hiking and camping with her husband and dog, and loves the outdoors. She is passionate about helping the underserved communities in Nevada and is thrilled to be a part of the Community Chest Inc. team!
Michael-Ann Lazzarino has served Nevada youth for over 12 years. She has worked in treatment facilities, youth programs, and taught prevention classes. Michael-Ann attended the University of Nevada Reno for Elementary education, and is continuing her higher education path in the field of Human Development and Family Studies. She has been married for seven wonderful years and has two beautiful children. Michael-Ann loves camping, hiking and spending time with her family.
Bobbi Pickles – Youth Programs Assistant
Bobbi has lived in Nevada for 26 years. She has been married for 22 years and has four lovely grandchildren. She was born in California and raised in Iowa. Bobbi has had many jobs in her lifetime – a real jack of all trades. After working many years in retail, she took some time off to discover her passion. Bobbi realized that her purpose in life is to help the community. Bobbi volunteers at Advocates to End Domestic Violence serving Carson City and Story County residents. She has many hours of training in domestic violence and she volunteers one evening a week to answer the crisis line. Bobbi is a trained sexual assault response advocate, and is on call for one week every month. Bobbi also helps to facilitate the Women’s Parlor every Monday night at 5:30 pm here at Community Chest. She started to work in the Comstock Kids Program in early 2012. Bobbi feels that working with children is rewarding and always unpredictable, and she enjoys every minute!
Early Childhood and Family Education
Cindy Boyd – COW Bus Director/Teacher
Cindy Boyd has worked for Community Chest as the Director of Classroom on Wheels since 1997. Her persistence to work for an organization that changes peoples lives but her in a position to work with Pre-K children and their families. Her bus serves students in Storey County. Before joining our family, Cindy worked for Big Sister of America and was a foster care mother. Currently, she lives in the Virginia City Highlands and volunteers with the Red Cross on her spare time.
Beanie Hancock – COW Bus Teacher
Beanie Hancock was born and raised in San Francisco, California. Before joining the COW program she worked as a para-professional and school bus driver for the San Antonio School District for 23 years. She has three children and four grand-daughters. Beanie moved to Nevada in 2005 and has since fallen in love with the Dayton community. In 2006, the director of COW persuaded Beanie to come out of retirement to become the COW Bus # 3 teacher.
Farah Rashdan – Parent Educator/Home Visitor
Farah Rashdan has lived in Reno, Nevada her entire life! She has traveled the world from Madrid, Spain to New Delhi India. She has come to discover that Nevada is a great place to be from and set high values. Farah is a recent graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno in Human Development and Families Studies. Farah has a passion for all individuals and wants to be the helping hand to connecting people and resources not only within a community but on a worldly scale. Farah is a new member to the Community Chest family but she hopes to contribute to the catalyst; that we are here as an organization to help others achieve their own greatness.
Sarah Dillard – Parent Educator/Home Visitor
Sarah was born and raised in the Reno and Sparks area. Spent 15 years in EMS where she worked as a paramedic and emergency medical dispatcher. Sarah is kept busy with her three kids, husband, and family dog. As a family they enjoy the outdoors and a love for their Nevada home and history. Time is spent camping, fishing, and hunting. Sarah is a new home visitor to Hawthorne and is eager to share resources from community chest to Mineral County.
Pam Trabert – Food Closet & Thrift Store Manager
Pam moved to Reno, NV in 1982. She was born in Minneapolis, MN and her family moved to Denver, CO in 1956. She and her husband started visiting Virginia City in Spring of 1982. They eventually fell in love with the history and its people. They moved into their current home eight years ago here in Virginia City.
She started working at Community Chest on December 18, 2006. She enjoys the people she works with at Community Chest, the clients of the Food Closet, and the tourists who come to visit our Thrift Store.
Sandy Delaski – Library Director
Sandy Delaski is very happy to be the Library Director for Storey Country. She has lived in Northern Nevada since 1978. With the help from Community Chest and Storey County Residents her goal is to put the library as the “place to be” in Virginia City. Sandy was privileged to be the Librarian at Dayton Elementary for six years prior to returning to college at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nevada. While pursing her degree in Education and working towards her Masters Degree, Sandy said she worked at the Primm Library on campus even before the windows were installed. She enjoyed watching the growth and development of the students for six years as their Library Tech. Her favorite part was working with the students and seeing the community enjoy the programs, events and art shows held in the Prim Library. Sandy saw students come in as freshman (With the deer in the headlight expression on their faces) and walk out 4 years later as confident, well educated, and informed contributing members of society. That being said, is why she believes every town benefits from having a Library with the latest resources and technology available. Sandy believes learning is a life long endeavor and informed communities enrich society. Presently, Sandy is especially excited to create a Community Library in Storey County that proudly represents Virginia City’s rich history and at the same time brings 21st century technology to all rural residents. Sandy said, “We also have a Library Hub in Mark Twain with a wonderful volunteer in the Mark Twain Community Center. Sandy spends her free time with family, friends and her 3 precious Shetland Sheepdogs. “Shelties”.
Deborah Loesch-Griffin earned her Education Specialist degree in Evaluation (1986) and doctorate degree in Educational Psychology and Child Development from Stanford University in 1987. She owns and operates a small business, Turning Point, Inc., and provides evaluation coaching, capacity-building, facilitation, mentoring for non-profits in youth development, and community-building training. From 1998-2008, TPI engaged in a partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) to co-sponsor the Center for Program Evaluation (CPE). As it’s Co-Director, Deborah developed a program for training individuals as professional evaluators.
Deborah is also the co-founder of Community Chest, Inc., in Virginia City, Nevada. She continues to work with Community Chest, Inc. as a Community Youth Development Specialist. In this role she organizes the annual Global Voice Program, mentors CCI’s youth development staff, facilitates the community-building initiative in Lockwood, and coordinates the Comstock Growers and Gardeners group who sponsored Storey County’s first farmers market in the Summer 2009. She is most interested in sustainable living and engaging youth as stewards of our environment as well as keeping all our citizenry healthy and providing local, affordable healthy alternatives.