Administration: Brian Conway, Executive Director Debra Higginson, Chief Financial Officer Cheyanne Lane, Supportive Services Manager Joan Adam, Administrative Assistant/Accounting Anna Aguilar, Administrative Assistant/Client Advocate Shawnee Bowen, Client Advocate
Counseling Staff: Shalini Malasingam, Clinical Director, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, (NV & CA) Sheri Anderson, Marriage and Family Therapy Trainee and Alcohol and Drug Counselor/Supervisor, (NV) Jesse Kilow-Nieto, Marriage & Family Therapist Trainee, (CA) Dustin Wedekind, Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician, (CA) Jenni Lejarza, Clinical Professional Counselor-Practicum Student, (NV & CA) Lesley Shapiro, Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee, (CA) Contractors: Janet Stevens, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, (CA & NV) Jane Besaw, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, (NV)
Primary Intervention Program Staff: Jenni Lejarza, Primary Intervention Program Aide Program Staff, Prevention Services: Shelby Musante, Case Manager Amber Von Holten, Youth Advocate Cameron Wiebe, Youth Advocate
TYFS Counseling Staff Bio's
Shalini Malasingam Clinical Director, South Lake Tahoe Office and Gardnerville Office. CA #107676 NV #2593-R Born and raised in Malaysia, I moved to Australia in 2000 where I completed my Bachelor of Psychology degree from the Australian National University and obtained my Master of Arts (Counseling Psychology/Marriage and Family Therapy) degree at Argosy University – Orange County. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in both the state of Nevada and California with over eight years of experience in the mental health field. I have over 6 years of experience working in a community mental health setting with a focus on trauma informed care for children, teens and adults. I also have three years of working with couples using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to guide couples in understanding each other and communicating effectively. As a clinician and now a Clinical Director, I utilize a systemic approach to help ensure that the voices, view and experiences of my team and our clients are placed up front. The systemic approach, at its heart, pays attention to relationships and interactions between people who are connected in a system. Each individual is considered in relation to other individuals, with a focus upon the ways in which they affect and are affected by each other. Systemic thinking emphasizes that individuals are connected in patterns of interaction, which may be sustained by the way communication flows between them. Following from this, the relational problems which families might face are thought of as being located, primarily, in the patterns of interaction between people, rather than within people themselves. In our work, systemic ideas can also be useful in drawing attention to the impact of wider social themes, such as poverty, inequality and oppression, upon families’ experiences guiding the clinician to expand beyond the single story of the clients we care for. Let’s get to work!
Janet Stevens License Clinical Social Worker, Contacted Therapist and Supervisor. South Lake Tahoe Office and Gardnerville Office. CA #76144 NV #7733-C I am a Clinical Social Worker, licensed to provide mental health services to clients in both California and Nevada. My Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) is from Cal State University in Sacramento (2012) and over the past 10 years I have gained a wide variety of experiences working with children, youth, and adults. I help people of all ages manage problems with anxiety, depression, stress, substance use, and trauma – primarily using motivational, cognitive, and skill-development strategies. I believe in the process of collaborative problem-solving. My goal is to create a safe and compassionate place in therapy where you are heard and respected, and where together we can explore your feelings and goals, develop options, and create change. At this time, I am only seeing clients via telehealth (Zoom or similar private and secure apps). I welcome you as a new client through Tahoe Youth and Family Services if you think that distance therapy will work for you – or if you are willing to give it a try.
Jane Besaw Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Gardnerville Office. NV #CP5137 My name is Jane Besaw. I joined Tahoe Youth and Family in December of 2021 as an Intern Clinical Professional Counselor and graduated to a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in February of 2022. Prior and congruent to this I was an intern and then Licensed Professional Counselor with Family Support Council in Gardnerville as well as a Quality Intellectual Disability Professional for Jessie’s Ranch. I am also employed as a licensed Special Education Teacher. I truly enjoy working with clients of all ages. I am certified in Neuro Emotional Technique and work well with those with trauma and disabilities such as Autism. I am also experienced in Domestic Violence.
Sheri D. Anderson Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee and Alcohol and Drug Counselor/Supervisor, Gardnerville Office. LADC #01759-L Intern Supervisor #00551-S I am a Master level, License Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC), Supervisor of Interns for certified alcohol and drug counselors (CADC), and Marriage & Family Therapist (MFT) trainee. I have worked as a LADC, since October of 1997 and an MFT-T since 10/2021. My humble career started in Chicago, IL and it was hometown for many years. I moved to Northern Nevada in 2016 and worked with several behavior health organizations before landing a position with Tahoe Youth & Family Services. I worked as a Registered Nurse for twenty-one years prior to becoming a License Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I call Gardnerville home, and I lived in this area for 3 years. I love the openness of the land and beauty of the wild fields and animals. I love the cloud formations and glazing into the stars at night. I love helping people and once I retired as a nurse, I knew mental health and substance abuse was the journey to explore; because helping people become the best of who they can be is my passion. I love collaborating with people of all ages. I have experience helping clients of all ages and feel comfortable working with young kids to geriatrics.
Jesse Kilow-Nieto Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee, South Lake Tahoe Office. “I was born locally and have lived in South Lake Tahoe for most of my life. Having personally experienced many of the hardships growing up in a small, tourism-dependent community such as Tahoe, I have a unique understanding of the community’s needs. I am an eclectic, person-centered therapist, and am comfortable employing a variety of theoretical techniques. I am constantly adapting my approach to meet the specific needs of each client I encounter, and I always meet my clients where they are at, operating from a non-judgmental/non-pathologizing stance. Having personally experienced many struggles and periods of suffering throughout my own life, I am passionate about providing care that promotes the reversal of the stigmatization related to therapy, that exists in our society. I strive to be culturally competent and to conceptualize my clients’ situations in the context of larger social systems. My areas of specialty include anxiety and depressive disorders, and trauma-informed care. I am certified as a Clinical Trauma Professional (CTP). I enjoy backpacking in desolation wilderness, mountain biking, spending time at the beach, and am passionate about animal rights. I have an affectionate dog named “Oscar”, who often comes to work with me and enjoys meeting new clients as well.”
Dustin Wedekind Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician, South Lake Tahoe Office Dustin Wedekind is a Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician, pursuing a degree in substance abuse counseling at Lake Tahoe Community College. After two years working with youths at the Juvenile Treatment Center, he looks forward to getting out and involved with the community at large in South Lake Tahoe. Mindful hikes, games, and crafting are the preferred modalities of his cognitive behavior therapies.
Jenni Lejarza Clinical Professional Counselor-Practicum Student, South Lake Tahoe Office, and Gardnerville Office. Jenni received her B.S. in Elementary Education/Early Childhood from Black Hills State University and is completing her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Jenni was an elementary school teacher for 15 years in which she taught children from preschool through 6th grade. She is enjoying the experience she is receiving at Tahoe Youth and Family Services and the clients that she is being given the opportunity to work with through this experience. Jenni is also the Primary Intervention Program Aide in South Lake Tahoe.
Lesley Shapiro Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee, South Lake Tahoe Office. Lesley Shapiro received her BA from UCLA in Sociology, and her MA in Architecture and Urban Planning. She also has two California teaching credentials and was a Special Education Coordinator for Los Angeles Unified School District. Her years of teaching and working with students and families inspired her to enter a Master's degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy, where she is currently enrolled as a second-year practicum student. Lesley has three grown children, four dogs, and a cat. She likes to hike, swim, travel, cook and read.