Executive Director, Robert Florez has been working with youth from Petaluma for 25 years. He has taught parenting classes. He has worked with Foster and Adoptive youth and parents from all over Northern California. He has taught at the Santa Rosa Junior College. He has 25 years of experience working with youth development issues and has served as a consultant regarding gang-related dynamics to a number of local agencies, including the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, and Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, and various school districts from Fort Bragg to Oakland. He has also consulted with the California State Department of Justice, Law Enforcement Intelligence Units. He created and contracted an Anger Management curriculum with Sonoma and Marin juvenile halls. Bob has managed and created many youth programs, in Sonoma County, that are still in use today by non-profits throughout Sonoma County. He is currently completing his research toward obtaining a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. His passion lies within being in service to our community’s youth. Bob can be reached at 707-778-4798 and rflorez(@)wrmm.org.
Advocacy Program Director, Deborah Dalton After serving five years as Executive Director and having served in many capacities with Mentor Me since December 2006, Deborah has returned to the position she loves; Program Director. A mentor to many young people, Deborah completed her general education at Santa Rosa Junior College. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Sonoma State University and is a first generation college graduate. She currently is back at the Santa Rosa JC in pursuit of a Master’s Degree. Deborah currently serves as an Advisory Board Member for The Salvation Army Petaluma Corps. In early 2014, under Deborah’s leadership, Mentor Me formed a partnership with the City of Petaluma that would make a local, historic building the new home of Mentor Me and a recreation center for the program. By August of 2014, the Mentor Me Cavanagh Recreation Center was fully functional. In 2015, Deborah received North Bay Business Journal’s Non-profit Leadership Award. Also that year, Mentor Me was the recipient of Community Child Care Council (4Cs) of Sonoma County’s Champions for Children Award and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Jefferson Award for Public Service. Deborah can be reached at 707-778-4798 and ddalton(@)wrmm.org.
Operations Director, Darlene Barrett-Garrahan has served as administrative staff for Mentor Me since September 2008. She became the Office Manager in 2009 and the Program Director in August 2012. Darlene attended UC Berkeley, majoring in Psychology. She served two years on the Valley Vista Elementary School PTA board and was a Valley Vista Enrichment Coordinator with Deborah Dalton from 2006-2013. Darlene can be reached at 707-778-4798 and dbarrett-garrahan(@)wrmm.org.
Facilities Administrator, Chris Bell has been a mentor almost as long as Mentor Me has been in existence. Upon graduating Sonoma State in 1994 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a Film Minor, he has dedicated his life to working with the children of Petaluma. He has served as Student Advisor at McNear Elementary School and as Program and Athletic Director for Boys & Girls Clubs, where he has coached over 100 teams in baseball, basketball and volleyball over the past 20 years. He is thrilled to be back at the Cavanagh Center, where he served as Boys & Girls Club Program Director from 1997-2000. Chris can be reached at 707-778-4798 and cbell(@)wrmm.org.
Marketing & Communications Director, Kim Hospodar began her career with Mentor Me in 2012 as a committee member of the Mad Hatter Ball, our largest fundraising event. She then went on to volunteer in the administrative office, eventually joining the Mentor Me team in 2013. Kim received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. and loves using her design skills acquired there to create marketing collateral, social media posts, newsletters and websites that tell the inspiring stories of the power of mentoring. Kim takes pride in knowing that her work promoting the organization’s mission has been instrumental in ensuring that the youth of Petaluma are supported and that Mentor Me enjoys a strong and valued presence in the community. You can reach Kim at 707-778-4798 and khospodar(@)wrmm.org.
School Site Coordinator, Sarah Keiser is the Site Coordinator for Penngrove Elementary School, Mary Collins at Cherry Valley Charter School and Grant Elementary School. She is serving as the Auditor on the PTA board at Penngrove Elementary. Sarah’s experience working with children includes coaching multiple sports and substitute teaching middle school students. She enjoys working with both the children and the mentors volunteering their time, and looks forward to serving the youth in our community for many years to come. Sarah can be reached at skeiser(@)wrmm.org or 707-778-4798.
School Site Coordinator, Beki Long has been with Mentor Me since 2009. She is presently the School Site Coordinator at La Tercera Elementary School and Sonoma Mountain Elementary School. Beki has a BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling from Sonoma State University. She is also Pupil Personnel Services Credentialed, a school counselor with Old Adobe Union School District, and a private swim instructor. Beki has also been a School Counselor with Santa Rosa City Schools and the Rohnert Park Unified School District and is currently a Counselor at La Tercera School. Her husband, Mike, is a mentor and they love being a part of an organization that strives to make positive changes in the lives of the youth in our community. Beki can be reached by email at blong(@)wrmm.org and by phone at 707-778-4798.
School Site Coordinator and Area Supervisior, Kathy O’Sullivan Kathy has been a part of Mentor Me since 2007. She is currently the School Site Coordinator at McKinley Elementary School, McDowell Elementary School and Area Supervisor for Waugh School District. Kathy holds a dual appointment with the Petaluma City Schools District in Special Education. She was part of the Early Mental Health Initiative at McDowell Elementary, as well as being a Physical Education Specialist at Penngrove for many years. During the summer she runs a tutoring program for children with special needs. Kathy is also a certified Medical Assistant with Kaiser. She is proud to be associated with a program that is so essential to our community. Kathy can be reached by email at kosullivan(@)wrmm.org or 707-778-4798.
School Site Coordinator, Nanci Ryan Nanci has served as School Site Coordinator for McNear Elementary School since August 2007. In 2014, she piloted a Peer Mentoring program at Grant Elementary with Petaluma High School students for community service hours and students who are presently waiting for adult mentors. It is known today as our Mentor Me Club. Her husband John, is a former member of the Mentor Me Board of Directors and mentor. Contact Nanci at nryan(@)wrmm.org or 707-778-4798.
Mentor Program Manager, Fidaa Shaheen Fidaa trains all of our new mentors. She is married with three boys and has been on staff with Mentor Me since 2006. She has a multiple subjects teaching credential and a Master’s Degree in Education from San Francisco State University. In addition to her current position, Fidaa is also the Site Coordinator for Petaluma High School, Petaluma Junior High School and Valley Vista Elementary School. Fidaa also created and facilitates Art Connections, our monthly art program that showcases the artwork of local artists and mentees. You may contact Fidaa at fshaheen(@)wrmm.org or 707-778-4798.
Michelle Wright, Mentor Program Director. Michelle joined the Mentor Me staff in November 2015 and has also held the positions of Program Expansion Manager, Area Supervisor, and School Site Coordinator. She grew up in Novato and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from San Diego State University. While working in the healthcare industry, Michelle also earned a Master in Health Administration from University of Southern California.
Advocacy Team Caseworker, Stephanie Sosa Stephanie has been working for Mentor Me since July 2017. She graduated from Petaluma High School in 2016 and is currently attending Sonoma State University, majoring in Sociology.
Administrative Assistant, Marie Stratman Marie has lived in Petaluma since 1996. While her three children were school age she was active in after school classes teaching creative arts. She attended UC Davis and has a degree in Communications with minors in Psychology and Women’s Studies. She recently received her Certification in The Power of Awareness from the Greater Good Science Center, Berkeley, California, is a Meditation Practitioner and is training in MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction).
School Site Coordinator, Kesa Labanowski Kesa is the School Site Coordinator at Kenilworth Junior High School, Casa Grande High School and all Petaluma Alternative Education Schools. Kesa is a second generation San Franciscan. She earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from San Jose State University. She worked as a social worker for the San Francisco VA. She ran a pilot program for homeless women veterans. Kesa has worked for the past 7 years for the Waugh School District. She joined Mentor Me on August 27, 2018. Kesa has always been a strong supporter of Mentor Me and is extremely excited to join the staff.
Advocacy Team Caseworker, Cheryl Nelson In addition to being a staff member, Cheryl is also a mentor. She’s been happily mentoring a young girl for 3 years. Cheryl has also been involved in Girl Scouts for 20+ years as a leader and/or co-leader. Her volunteer roles also include time spent on the Project Graduation Board at CGHS for 10 years, in countless elementary school classrooms, and in many roles on the PTA/PTSA boards of La Tercera, Sonoma Mountain, Kenilworth JH and CGHS. Cheryl raised three children who were very active in school and club sports. Having worked 18 years for a local business, she is happy to be working with children, which is her real passion.
Advocacy Team Caseworker, Jessica Demitro Jessica moved to the North Bay when she was 17 years old, from Portland OR. Even though she currently lives in Novato, she absolutely loves Petaluma. She lived in Petaluma when her daughter was in elementary school and was a participant in the Mentor Me program at La Tercera. Her daughter still has a very close relationship with her mentor after 10 years. She completed her AA at Santa Rosa Junior College and will graduate with a Sociology degree from Sonoma State University in May. She also works for a small business located in Corte Madera and Downtown Petaluma, which supports Grad Night at the local high schools. She is so grateful for the opportunity to give back to this wonderful community and hopes that she can make a difference in the life of each family with whom she works.
Advocacy Team Caseworker, Dolan Beaird Dolan raised his now adult children in Petaluma. He is helping to raise his five grandchildren in Petaluma and Cotati, as a very involved “Pa”. He has coached youth in Petaluma for over 15 years, was a Youth Minister as his local church for 15 years, and has volunteered on many boards in town. Dolan has volunteered inside San Quentin State Prison for decades in a variety of programs and roles. He was a Gang Intervention Specialist for a non-profit, working with registered gang members on probation for many years. Dolan worked as a Campus Supervisor at Casa Grande High School for a couple of years. Dolan is a retired Probation Counselor Supervisor with close to 25 years of service in many counties and two states, working with youth in detention and residential camps. Dolan has been a mentor for over five years, and has two mentees, one who lives in Rohnert Park and the other in Sparks, Nevada (whom he sees numerous times throughout the year, often traveling to Sparks). Dolan has been a Caseworker with Mentor Me Advocacy Team since 2016.
Advocacy Team Caseworker, Cliff Newsome joins Mentor Me after 34 years of service with the Probation Departments of both Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. Having graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology and minor in criminal justice, Cliff worked with both the adult and juvenile divisions until his retirement in 2017. In his free time, Cliff is passionate about his faith, physical fitness and music of all kinds. He plays piano and guitar in a local blues/rock band. When asked what the best thing is about working with kids he says, “In all these years, I have never met a kid I didn’t like.”