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FRESNO STAFF

Jerome Piper

Executive Director (SUDCC)

Jerome Piper is a Bakersfield native who has been in the alcohol and drug counseling field since 2017. Having struggled with substance dependence himself, Jerome has always had a passion for helping others in recovery. To this end, he graduated from the Drug & Alcohol Studies program in 2019 and the bachelor’s program in 2020 from Cal State University, Bakersfield.

He currently holds the title of Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor (SUDCC) under the California Association of DUI Treatment Programs, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor 1 (CADC I) under the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, and an Associates of Arts degree from College of the Sequoias in 2001. Jerome did his internship at Clinica Sierra Vista Ebony counseling center, working with diverse populations in individual and group settings in an intensive outpatient treatment center before joining the Aspire team in 2019.

In his free time, he enjoys participating in community self-help groups, being of service to his community, and spending time with his two daughters and his son.

Yessica Avancena

MBA, LMFT, Division Chief Executive Officer

Yessica Avancena, MBA, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in children, adults and blended family structures. She is also the current Division CEO of Aspire Behavioral. Her work experience includes both private clinical practice and County Mental Health/Hospital roles where she was in leadership and management. She is a psychotherapist that is UCLA-trained in Mindfulness Application Practices which have been shown to be effective to treat ADHD, Anxiety and Mood Disorders as well as overall stress reduction. She has received additional training in the areas of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which utilizes awareness and mindfulness concepts along with progressive relaxation and guided meditation techniques for symptom reduction. Trained in alternative healing methods such as guided meditation, essential oils, and Reiki healing energy, she uses an empathetic and client-centered approach to change which meets the individual where they are for a holistic approach to healing. She is bilingual in Spanish/English and bi-cultural with extensive knowledge of Hispanic culture.

Rachel Lanier

Clinical Manager M.S., AMFT, APCC

Rachel earned two baccalaureate degrees in Psychology and Religious Studies, followed by a master’s in Counseling Psychology from California State University, Bakersfield. She is currently working towards an additional degree in Philosophy. Rachel has provided services to children, adolescents, and adults focusing on the utilization of evidenced-based practices and explorations in existential and mindfulness concepts.

Tommy Stokes

Registered Addiction Counselor

Tommy Stokes is a resident of Fresno CA, and is currently attending Fresno City College. Tommy is a registered SUD Intern majoring in Human Services. Having dealt with his personal struggles, Tommy is an ex-convict and an ex-addict who is dedicated to helping those in need of substance abuse treatment. His passion and focus consist of helping to counsel juveniles and adolescents. Tommy wants to guide adolescents and help them understand that they could have a better life if they chose to. Tommy strongly believes that we must start with the youth if we want a better future.

Aspire Counseling Service California

Destiny Vassar

SUD Counselor (CATC-1)

Destiny Vassar was born in Texas and raised in the sunny city of Fresno, CA. Destiny is our newest Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor I (CATC-1) as awarded by The Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California (ACCBC). Fresno City College also awarded Destiny her Certificate of Achievement for Human Services – Pre-Social Work Option and Human Services Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Option. Destiny is an experienced Substance Abuse Counselor who has been an active pillar in the Fresno community since 2019.

Destiny is currently working on her Associate Degree in Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counseling and Associate Degree in Social Work (ASW) at Fresno City College with an expected completion by the end of summer 2022. Destiny plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree at CSU Fresno in the spring of 2023. Destiny has a strong passion for servicing, assisting, and supporting the community. Destiny turned her personal experience to strength and hope by advocating for those affected by domestic violence, human trafficking, and family reunification. Destiny interned at Central California Recovery, where she co-facilitated adult groups and family groups. Destiny served as an intake coordinator at Salvation Army where she worked with families, probation, parole and performed assessments at the Fresno County Jail. Destiny served as a dedicated SUD counselor at Fresno First Mental Health Systems Inpatient Residential Treatment Center. Destiny also worked with clients suffering from mild to severe mental health concerns who also presented with substance use disorder. Destiny provided counseling in both individual and group settings. Destiny is excited to now be part of Aspire Counseling Service, Fresno team.

Destiny is the strong mother who believes in the importance of providing resources and to be the change you want to see in people. Destiny leads by example with compassion, and desire to show her children the importance of education and hard work ethic. Destiny defeated the odds by taking back control of her life. Destiny’s mantra is, “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”.

Seressa Valdez

Intake & Business Development Coordinator

Seressa Valdez was born and raised in Fresno, CA. She now resides and has made her home in Bakersfield, Ca for the past 10 years, where she has begun to pursue and build her career. Having dealt with personal struggles of her own, she found her passion in helping others and has been working in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse field for the past 7 years.

Seressa started her career as a Substance Abuse Counselor, over the years she has transitioned into the business aspects of recovery, with the goal of bringing new individuals who are in need to a safe place where they can focus on themselves. She is currently working towards her Master’s degree in Business Administration. Her work experience includes working in residential, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and detox environments as well as psychiatric institutes.

In the past Seressa has held the titles of Substance Abuse Counselor, Program Manager, Utilization Review & Billing Coordinator, Business Development Manager, Intake Coordinator, Case Manager, and Clinical Director in Bakersfield, CA. In her free time, Seressa enjoys baking, traveling, and spending time with her family.

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