Our team of dedicated, enthusiastic, warm, and highly capable people makes us stand out! We are committed to providing training and continuous professional development for each of our coaches. We work closely together to provide quality services to our clients, and our team-based approach allows clients to access a multi-disciplinary team to address any concerns or needs.
Joanna graduated from the University of San Diego (USD) with major in psychology and minor in gender studies in 2012. In May 2014, she earned her master’s degree in Social Work from San Diego State University. As a junior at USD, she began working as a peer advisor in the Center for Student Success, counseling college students on academic probation. Her work as a peer advisor continued for three years. In graduate school, she interned for North County Lifeline in Oceanside, CA and counseled students from elementary to high school age for individual sessions and groups throughout the Oceanside and Carlsbad school districts. For her second year graduate school internship, she worked at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital in their Intensive Outpatient Dual Diagnosis program counseling young adults and adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues. Joanna’s hobbies include playing beach volleyball, running, snowboarding, and traveling. During the past six years, she has studied abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico, Florence, Italy, and Jerusalem, Israel.
Jessica graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a B.A. in Anthropology with a focus on Disability Studies. One of her many research projects pertaining to children and adolescents with developmental disabilities was presented and honored at the twentieth annual graduate student and faculty Conference on Language Interaction and Culture. She founded a student group at UCLA to help students with chronic illness face the challenges of independence and college life. Some organizations she volunteered with include The Achievable Foundation, The LA Speech and Language Therapy Center, the Braille Institute, and the Children’s Music Fund. Jessica began working professionally with children with special needs at the age of fifteen in various ways such as nannying, tutoring, mentoring, working respite care, and performing research. She has a strong passion for this type of work and eventually desires to found her own non-profit organization to benefit children and adolescents with disabilities and chronic illness.
She loves all hobbies to do with the arts, enjoys the outdoors, especially the beach, and her favorite view is the sunset.
Hugo has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Child & Adolescent Development from California State University, Northridge. He recently completed a Master of Science degree in Counseling Marriage and Family Therapy at California State University Long Beach. Hugo has worked with young people of divergent ages, ethnic/psychosocial backgrounds, and unique needs (gifted, abuse history, developmental disabilities) in both private and public settings as a teacher, coach, tutor, and behavioral/family therapist utilizing evidence-based practices. Hugo is passionate about facilitating inner strength and hope with youth and their families. Hugo enjoys hiking, basketball, music (hip hop to classic rock), and swimming.
Jillian received both her Bachelor's and her Master's degree in Social Work from West Virginia University in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Since then, she has worked as a crisis counselor and advocate for children and adult survivors of crime and has completed an internship as a medical social worker at a state psychiatric facility. Most recently she was employed as a therapist providing individual, group and family therapy to adolescents with behavioral and emotional disturbances in a residential setting. Jillian possesses an intense enthusiasm for helping adolescents and young adults to live healthy, meaningful and happy lives. Her interests include positive psychology, travel and nutrition. In her spare time she enjoys exploring Los Angeles, spending time with family and friends, trying new foods and going to the beach.
Courtney graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and is currently attending Chapman University's School Psychology program where she is completing her M.A. and Ed.S. degrees in Educational Psychology, with an additional emphasis as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. She has four years experience working with children and young adults with developmental disabilities in school and after-school program settings. In addition to her work with Advance LA, she is also working as a school psychology practicum student for Los Alamitos Unified School District. Her hobbies include hiking, shopping, singing, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Matthew Hilburn is a Masters student of Counseling in the Marriage and Family Therapist track at California State University, Northridge. He received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Houston, Clear Lake in 2011. Following his undergraduate career, he began working as a Behavioral Therapist for REACH with the Help Group. Currently, he continues his work with the Help Group as a Life Skills Coach in conjunction with Advance LA. Matthew also works at Strength United as a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors struggling with trauma, depression anxiety and parenting dilemmas.
Bahar graduated from the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology in 2013. Following her undergraduate career, she began working at the DRES department in California State University, Northridge (CSUN). There, she strived to empower students with disabilities and guide them to achieve their goals. Currently, she is a Masters student of Marriage and Family Therapy at CSUN. Bahar also works at Strength United as a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee, working with families who struggle with domestic violence relationships, depression, anxiety, parenting, and etc. She loves to travel the world and learn about diverse cultures and lifestyles.
Krist earned his Bachelors of Arts degrees in Psychology and Social Work from Rutgers University. While attending university, he worked as a research assistant at The John Abela Institute for Research, screening youth for mood and anxiety disorders. Krist comes to Advance LA with numerous related work experiences. He worked in a Workforce Development Program, where he helped individuals develop job skills and assisted them in obtaining gainful employment. Krist also worked in the Chafee Life Skills Program, contracted by New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families. While there, he assisted youth develop independent living skills as well as achieve their higher education, career, and housing goals. For fun, Krist enjoys photography, music, and cheering on his NFL, NBA, and fantasy teams.