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 since 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.
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 bilingl in Spanish and bi-cultural with extensive knowledge of Hispanic culture.
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.
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.
Seshaan Ratnam is a graduate from UCLA receiving his bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Health Psychology. He has been practicing yoga and mindfulness for 5 years and received training in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction and Success Over Addiction and Relapse.
During his time at UCLA, he was heavily involved in research investigating the clinical use of mindfulness, meditation, and breathwork as interventions for many mind-body disorders. Addiction being defined as an illness of the mind, body, and spirit requires a holistic approach that treats the mind, body, and spirit connection.
Seshaan hopes to utilize his experience by helping individuals reconnect with parts of themselves that have become affected during periods of addiction and help contribute to a supportive and trusting environment.
Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician (RADT)
Lisa Xiong completed her degree in Psychology, B.A in 2017 at Stanislaus State University. Lisa began her social work profession by working at Crestwood Behavioral Health as a Service Coordinator while interning at Aspire Counseling Service. She managed her own caseload and ran groups such as Resiliency. Lisa is currently pursuing her Master’s in Clinical Social Work at Boston University (BU). She currently has her certification in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Trauma Focused on Adolescence and will be working on receiving a certification for CBT on Adults.She hopes to become a future Licensed Clinician Social Work (LCSW). Lisa has had experiences in providing therapy services to children, adolescents, and adults using techniques such as mindfulness and exploring different types of coping skills.
Tracey L. Pimental
M.A., Registered Drug & Alcohol Counselor
Tracey is a Veteran of the United States Military (Airborne Paratrooper) and has been working in the field of Addiction Treatment for 20 years. Working with diverse populations in individual, group, residential, & sober living settings, and most recently for Aegis Treatment Centers as a Counselor II treating patients with opiate use disorders using Medication Assisted Treatment, she brings a wealth of experience to share.
Tracey earned her B.S from National University in Behavioral Science, Addiction Studies in 2001 and her M.A. in Human Behavior, Addiction Studies from National University in 2008 allowing her the opportunity to teach counseling courses for Fresno City College for many years.
Tracey has her own personal history of substance abuse and brings that experience with her to guide clients to a new way of living. Her passion is helping others see that success is possible.
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