Our Team

Don Kleinfelder

Executive Director

Don has worked in the non-profit sector for over 25 years. He has worked for 20 years as an Executive Director, and started here in November 2006. He holds a MS in Hydrology/Hydrogeology from the University of Nevada-Reno, and prior to entering the non-profit sector, worked in the private sector as a hydrogeologist, focusing on groundwater remediation.

Under his guidance, Child Advocates has grown from serving 25 foster youth in 2006 to over 500 foster and at-risk youth a year. He is a Board Member for the Nonprofits' Insurance Alliance of California and is Co-chair of the Placer Collaborative Network. Don is a former member of the California CASA Board of Directors and the former Chair of the Placer County Community Services Commission.

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Amber Lane Celmer

Development Director

Amber comes to us with a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Chico (CSUC) with an emphasis on Women's Studies.  While in college, she led the Elementary School Environmental Program within CSUCs Community Action Volunteers in Education program, and also volunteered for the CSUCs Women's Center, where she organized events such as the campus's annual 'Take Back the Night Week' event.

Over the last ten years Amber's professional experience has focused on Client Services, Strategy, Marketing, and Business Development.  In addition, Amber has personal experience with the CA foster care system, and this led to her involvement with the California Youth Connection and other youth advocacy organizations over the last 20 years. Formerly a Case Supervisor for Child Advocates, Amber now oversees Development and Social Media for our program.

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Julie Stark

Development Associate

Julie Stark has been a CASA volunteer since January 2008. Over the years she has handled several CASA cases and spent a couple of years as a mentor. In early 2017 Julie became a Family Mentor. Julie retired January 2017 after 25 years working in the corporate world as a Director of Global Accounts for American Express. Over the years she had expressed an interest in joining the CAPC team to help raise “a ton of money” as Don Kleinfelder kindly reminder her. Julie is excited to be working with Amber and Don and looks forward to helping raise a lot of money.

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Taylor Baierlein

Program Manager - Volunteer Recruitment & Training / CASA

Taylor holds a B.A. in Psychology from Sacramento State University. She studied Journalism and Early Childhood Development as well and worked as the Editor-in-Chief and features writer on the newspaper there. She has experience working in visitation with a private foster agency and  has volunteered at Shiners Hospitals for Children in the Therapeutic Child Life Center. She has been working with children/youth coaching, mentoring, and teaching in various roles for over 10 years. Her passion to serve children and people has allowed her to travel to Spain, Italy, Scotland, Jamaica, France, Germany, Holland, and Mexico.

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José Huizar, MA

Program Manager - Youth Mentor / K94Kids / CASA

Before joining Child Advocates of Placer County, José completed his M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Diego State University in 2015, where he developed a background in international research.

As a graduate student, José completed his thesis work in a rural community in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he worked alongside a community support group for elders who had been left behind by migrant family members. In addition, he led a U.S.-Mexico research team that examined the process of deportation at shelters in Tijuana, Baja California. His passion for helping those who are most vulnerable has also led him to volunteer at a children’s after school mentoring program in Oaxaca, Mexico, and at a center for unaccompanied immigrant children in San Diego, California.

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Jamie Nichols

Program Manager - Family Mentor / CASA

Jamie has her B.S. in criminal justice from California State University Sacramento and has completed Master’s coursework in criminal justice at CSUS. Before coming to Child Advocates, Jamie spent four years as a case manager for Volunteers of America (VOA) where she worked with AB-109/Re-Entry clients. As part of the Court Re-Entry team, she taught life skills, anger management, and domestic violence education. She has also worked directly with domestic violence victims. Prior to her work at VOA, Jamie was a Deputy Probation Officer for Solano County and a probation assistant for Sacramento County, where she worked with both juvenile offenders and at-risk youth.

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Jason Allen

Program Manager - Delinquency / CASA

Jason has a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from Beloit College. He has over 10 years of experience working with children and families in various communities with a focus on youth with significant mental health, behavioral challenges, and delinquency struggles. In his prior work, he has been a Wraparound Supervisor, Care Coordinator for families, and worked with probation youth. 

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Katja Pollmann

Program Manager - Prosper Placer

Katja has her M.A. in Sociology from the University of Hamburg, Germany and has added classes in economics and Latin American studies. Before working for Prosper Placer, Katja worked in retail and Project Management at many major German airports being in charge of developing new store concept, operating stores, and leading large teams. After moving to the US in 2009 she continued to work in retail focusing on event planning, marketing, and sales.

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Frida Diaz

Program Assistant - Prosper Placer

Ms. Diaz holds a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). During her time as a CSUN student she participated in a one-year internship with Kids In Need of Defense, where she provided social services for the immigrant community in Los Angeles. Upon graduating from CSUN she participated in another internship where she served as an Academic Mentor for first-year freshmen students. Frida’s passion is to provide resources for families, students, and others in need.

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Kristi Varnum

Family Mentor Case Manager

Kristi is very excited to be working a part of the Child Advocates Family Mentor Program. For the past three years Kristi has been working at Sierra Native Alliance as Peer support staff and child care assistant. Prior to that, she worked in various aspects of healthcare. Kristi's passions include her faith, family, and giving back to my communities. She is truly excited to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful staff and volunteers at Child Advocates of Placer County, and to help us all make a difference in our community!

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Volunteer Case Supervisors:
Val Gerry
Susie Klinefelter
Helen Ohman
Grace Pettingill
Kathryn Ries
Karen Salem
Cathy SooHoo
Jerry Henry
Ursula Wiley
John Risoen
Sharon Furlong
Cynthia Fehrenbacher
Lili Aram-Bost
Office Angels:
Judy Pinegar
Barbara Childress
Grace Pettingill
Marcia Haus
Denise Kissack
Ursula Wiley
Court Supervisors:
Lynda Kirkpatrick
Tamara Crocker
Jennifer Eaton
Carol Ellison
Cindy Fehrenbacher
Ambassador Team:
Sharon Furlong
Susie Rodgers
Don Genasci
Lynell Ross
Lyn Amerine
Val Gerry
Kathy Kennedy
Karen Salem
Suzan Rosario

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