Our Staff

Administration

Erik Schoen – Executive Director
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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 Executive Director at Community Chest where he has been for over 20 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.


Michael-Ann Lazzarino – Deputy Director
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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.


Amber Hadley – Accountant and Business Manager
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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
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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.


Mental Health & Wellness

Adrienne Sutherland– Clinical Director/Therapist

Adrienne grew up moving around as a military child and settled in Nevada in 1998.  She has been in the mental health 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 Master of Arts in Counseling and Educational Psychology, focusing on school and mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment and prevention.  She is an appointed member of the Northern Nevada Behavioral Health Policy Board and a state certified supervisor for drug and alcohol counselors.


Britany Beck- Therapist/Storey County Safe Schools Professional

Britany is a native Nevadan who enjoys spending her spare time reading, running, and spending time with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.  Some of her favorite family activities include hiking, camping, boating, and fishing. She started her career in the medical field and has worked as a Medical Assistant and Nurses’ Assistant for the past 13 years.  She started at Community Chest after completing her counseling practicum in rural Lyon County and has experience in working with clients experiencing severe mental health issues.  She is a Licensed Clinical Profession Counselor Intern and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern and is passionate about working with rural communities.


Amy Reha –  Therapist
Amy Reha recently returned to her home state of Nevada after living in the DFW metroplex for the past twenty years. She is thrilled to be back, and passionate to serve the Northern Nevada community. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and Master’s of Counseling Psychology at Texas Woman’s University, in Denton, Texas. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Intern and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern who works with individuals from a “healing through connection” perspective, integrating multiple theories including multicultural, relational, and existential interventions.

Amy previously worked with college students at Texas Christian University’s Counseling & Mental Health Center in Fort Worth, Texas, addressing a variety of issues including home-sickness and adjustment, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, ADHD and learning disorders, eating disorders, and other problems that occur in college settings.
Before working at TCU, Amy worked at the AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth, Texas, where she worked with hiv+ and at-risk individuals, couples, and families. She worked hand-in-hand with case managers to help address every day problems from illiteracy to homelessness, advocating for her client’s basic needs, while providing therapy on a weekly basis. Her clients at AOC presented with a wide range of therapeutic needs, giving her the opportunity to learn and grow with her clients.


Taylor Tremayne – Substance Abuse Counselor

Taylor is a Nevada native, born and raised throughout the Reno-Sparks area. She graduated from the University of Nevada Reno with a degree in psychology and a minor in substance abuse treatment and prevention and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern. She enjoys the outdoors doing activities such as hiking and camping.  She also loves spending time with her family and friends.

 


Sarah Verness – Therapist/Lyon County Family Enrichment Program Coordinator

Sarah is a Reno born native and grew up in the Reno-Sparks area. She has a Bachelor’s of Psychology with a minor in substance abuse treatment and prevention. More recently Sarah has completed her Master’s in Social Work and is a Licensed Social Worker, Clinical Social Work Intern, and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern. Sarah has experience in working with foster youth, the Washoe County Public Defenders office and Hospice, having been placed for internship with those agencies.  Sarah enjoys spending time with her significant other and his daughter as well as with close friends and family. Additional hobbies include camping, reading, and exploring new places.


Case Management

Kallie Day – Case Manager
G.A.M.E Program Director
kallieHi, 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 I – Case Manager
Adult Employment and Advocate

k_ibarraKelly has over 30 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 bilingual in Spanish. 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.

 


Michele Burke – Case Manager
Adult Employment


Shaunte B – Case Manager
G.A.M.E. Program (Out-of-School Youth)
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Shaunte was born in Southern California but moved to Dayton, Nevada in 1990 and has lived here ever since. Shaunte and her husband decided that they wanted to stay in Dayton to raise their child and give her small town roots.

Shaunte has a little over six years experience in case management dealing with victims of domestic violence and is excited to bring that experience to Community Chest Inc. in a different capacity. She has been a community volunteer since a young age and has volunteered at Advocates to End Domestic Violence, The Alzheimer’s Association, Carson City Health and Human Services, Northern Nevada Food Bank and the Dayton Food Pantry. In her down time she enjoys spending time with her family, friends and just enjoying the simplicity of small town life.


Youth Programs

Shannon Parsons – Youth Development Director
Shannon Parsons is a Nevada native, born and raised in Virginia City. She grew up attending the youth programs in Community Chest. She has been working for Community Chest since 2010. Shannon started as a youth member of the Board of Directors her freshman year of high school and followed on to join the summer staff coordinators for the Comstock Kids Summer Program. She was a youth member of Global Voice in 2014. After Graduating High school she moved on to become a full time staff for the summer program and before/after school program for the Comstock Kids and SOARS as well as an adult supervisor for Global Voice. She runs the In-School Youth programs for Hugh Gallagher Elementary school and Virginia City Middle and High schools. She is currently attending The University of Nevada, Reno for Anthropology. She has since been promoted to Assistant Youth Development Director and now Youth Development Director for Community Chest. She loves being able to encourage the youth in her community to be the best person they can be.


Cass Woods – Youth Programs Assistant


Bobbi Pickles – Youth Programs Assistant
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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. 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 Sisters of America and was a foster care mother. Currently, she lives in the Virginia City Highlands and volunteers with the Red Cross in her spare time.


Brandy Ayers – COW Bus Teacher

20171101_231127 I am currently the COW bus teacher in Fernley teaching preschoolers ages 3 to 4. I have been teaching for 15 years. I have my Bachelors degree in Elementary education. I love getting to spend my day with young minds, seeing them learn something new and sharing in their joy as they accomplish new things!  I was drawn to Community Chest, Inc because of the rainbow of services the organization offers to the community. CCI’s mission to make the world a better place, improving peoples lives, making families stronger, is inspiring to me. I am blessed to be a part of this “give back” organization. I am the mother of four beautiful children, three daughters and a son. Being a mom to these amazing souls is the biggest blessing in my life.


Sarah Dillard – Home Visiting Outreach Supervisor
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Sarah was born and raised in Reno/Sparks, and spent 15 years in EMS where she worked as a paramedic and emergency medical dispatcher. Sarah keeps very 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. Sarah and her family spend their time camping, fishing, and hunting. Sarah is a new home visitor to Hawthorne and is eager to share resources from community chest to Mineral County.

 


Desiree Witteman – Parent Educator/Home Visitor

I have lived in Northern Nevada with my wonderful husband for over 30 years. We have two amazing daughters and two precious granddaughters. I have worked in the social services field for many years as a domestic violence victim advocate, a Differential Response Caseworker, and a caseworker for foster care children and their foster families. On my down time, I enjoy running my two wire haired terriers, hiking with my husband, and planting my garden each year.

 


Maciel Dotson — Parent Educator/Home Visitor

I was born and raised in Northern Nevada and moved back to the area after spending a decade exploring the country. I was a military spouse for nine years and spent my time volunteering and pursuing my passion in helping growing families as a doula. In my free time I enjoy live music, Lake Tahoe, snowboarding, road trips, reading, and spending time with my loved ones.

 

 


Community Services

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
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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”.


ADVISORY STAFF

Shaun Griffin – Co-Founder and Development Director

Shaun Griffin is the co-founder of Community Chest, and served as executive director for 26 years. 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.

Deborah Loesch-Griffin – Co-Founder and Consultant

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.