Mr. Kleinfelder has worked in the non-profit sector for over 25 years, including 20 years as Executive Director. 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 in 2015. 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. He is also an active CASA volunteer, working with his fourth youth. Mr. Kleinfelder assumed the Executive Director position in November 2006.
As the CASA Program Director, Ms. Mathews oversees the day-to-day activities of the CASA program. Prior to joining Child Advocates, Ms. Mathews spent 15 years with high tech companies, where she progressed from Customer Service in Sales to Director of Business Operations for Global Services at HP.
As such, she brings a wealth of experience in sales, marketing and operations. Kathryn attended University of Phoenix focusing on completing her BA in Global Business Management. She has also been a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, Ombudsman and Adoption Support Services and is a past Santa Clara County CASA volunteer. Her personal knowledge as a CASA and her leadership skills is a great benefit to our team.
Amber Lane Celmer
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.
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 volunteered at Shiners Hospitals for Children for a year in the Therapeutic Child Life Center and has been working with children/youth coaching, mentoring, and teaching in various roles for 10 years. Her passion to serve children and people has allowed her to travel to Spain, Italy, Scotland, Jamaica, France, Germany, Holland, and Mexico.
José Huizar, MA
José joins our team at Child Advocates as the new Case Manager. With the recent completion of his M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Diego State University in 2015, he brings with him 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.
Ms. Nichols 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.
Jamie is truly passionate about supporting all youth, particularly the most vulnerable in our community, and is excited to help Child Advocates of Placer County expand the CASA program in both Placer County Dependency and Delinquency courts.
As the Foster Parent Liaison between Placer County Children’s System of Care and Placer Kids since 1999, Laurie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding foster youth issues. In this role she successfully facilitated support groups for foster/adoptive and kinship families, implemented Tweens and Teens support groups, and worked at Sierra College as the Foster Parent Trainer.
She brings excellent presentation, group facilitation and community outreach skills, along with her in-depth knowledge of the child welfare system. Above all else, she has a care and passion for the children of Placer County.