Jefferson Sa, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Sa has been Sunrise Community Counseling Center’s CEO for 25 years. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and has over 30 years’ experience working in the behavioral health field in the United States and Latin America. Dr. Sa’s specializations include therapy for drug and alcohol dependence/addiction, anger management, domestic violence, and hypnotherapy. He is certified in various behavioral treatments, including Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA), Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN), Assertive Continuing Care (ACC), SARATSO LS/CMI, STATIC 99R, and is certified as a CCBI Human Trafficking Advocate in the State of California. Dr. Sa has spearheaded local and international multicultural and multiethnic mental health programs that have integrated HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Currently, he oversees three grant programs at Sunrise that are federally funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) that focus on behavioral health prevention and treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, as well as HIV and hepatitis prevention and treatment, for youth and adults. Dr. Sa is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish. He is also a Merchant Marine in the U.S. Coast Guard.
David Salinas, MPH
Program Manager/Grant Writer
David manages the daily operations of federal, state, and county programs at Sunrise CCC. He has over 14 years of clinical and social science research experience combined. David is a senior grant writer with expertise in the implementation of needs assessments for non-profit entities, city and county departments, and for state agencies; evaluation expertise in clinical and health services research, literature reviews; study and program design; instrument development; primary and secondary data collection; quantitative and qualitative data analysis; data manipulation and statistical analysis; and manuscript and report development. Prior to joining Sunrise, David was an independent consultant working in Colorado and California. He also worked as a project coordinator for Phoenix Multisport, a non-profit agency that supports a sober active life for individuals in recovery, or those who choose to live a sober life. David has Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Biology and Spanish Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Colorado at Denver. As a proud native of Mexico (Cuernavaca, Morelos), David is fluent in Spanish and English. On his off time, he enjoys traveling with his family, cooking, listening to music, running, and weight training.
Jennifer Bae, BA
Jennifer oversees Sunrise’s project budgets, human resources, facilities, and operations, and works closely with the organization’s project manager/grant writer, accountant, CEO, and CFO. She brings to Sunrise her unique expertise in program design, evaluation, and organizational development. Prior to joining Sunrise, Jennifer worked in an accounting and finance office, and managed and operated a real estate and finance office, a small law firm, and was a licensed partner of a general contracting and engineering company. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology from Mills College. She speaks English, Korean, and is proficient in American Sign Language.
Kristy Palomares, BA
Kristy was born in Los Angeles to Mexican immigrants, and earned a BA in Sociology from Mills College. As Project Associate, she assists with research and grant writing tasks, oversees program quality assurance, provides community outreach support by engaging local communities, fosters relationships with local organizations to provide the most holistic care possible to clients, and spearheads special projects. She has experience in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, data collection and analysis, community engagement, case management, program development, graphic design, website management and event planning. Kristy is an ally to undocumented peoples and the LGBTQ community, and is passionate about human rights, and social, racial and economic equity. During her free time she enjoys attending concerts, traveling, reading and writing, learning to play the bass guitar and spending time with her friends, family and dogs. She is fluent in Spanish and English.
Leticia Villalobos, BSW
Leticia has been working at Sunrise for 20 years and is the lead counselor for Sunrise’s federal grant programs. Leticia provides individual behavioral health counseling for a diverse clientele. She has worked with many immigrant ethnicities and nationalities, including Central American, Mexican, African American/Black, and White clients. Leticia holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Social Work from Cal State University Los Angeles. She is certified in Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA), Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA), and Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN), to work with adolescents and adults with substance abuse issues. Leticia is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Alejandro Martínez, BA, DVPT, CAADE, MFTT
Alejandro has been at Sunrise for six years, providing behavioral health counseling for clients with domestic violence cases, substance abuse issues, therapy for teens and adults who are victims and perpetrators of sexual violence, and anger management issues. He has also enjoyed worked with parents who have open cases with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCSF). Working as a counselor for parents and families has increased his awareness and knowledge of the systemic institutional deficiencies in managing and caring for children with behavioral difficulties. At Sunrise, Alejandro has had the opportunity to cultivate a deeper understanding of the struggles that low socioeconomic status families experience in their daily lives and how these struggles affect their mental health. Alejandro received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a focus on Human Development from Cal State University Los Angeles. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from California Southern University. He is certified as a Substance Abuse Counselor and holds certification in Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) counseling. Alejandro has extensive experience utilizing a variety of approaches to his counseling, including but not limited to, psychosocial, psychodynamic, cognitive, and learning theory. Alejandro is originally from Mexico City and is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Ana Salmerón, MS, IMFT
Counselor/Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
Ana is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences and is currently working on obtaining her license as an LMFT. She has been working as a therapist for over three years and enjoys working with different populations regardless of sexual orientation and spiritual beliefs. At Sunrise she provides individual, couples’, and group therapy for adolescents, adults, and the elderly. In addition, Ana provides group therapy for domestic violence batterers and has experience working with victims of violent crimes. She also works with clients who suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Ana received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services at University of Phoenix of Southern California, as well as her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She holds certifications as a Domestic Batterer’s Counselor, Sex Offender Treatment Provider, and Evidence-Based Therapy. Ana was born and raised in El Salvador, San Salvador and immigrated to United States in her late teens. She is family-oriented, and is interested in focusing on children’s emotional stability and well-being. For this reason, she finds it important to educate parents about respect, effective parenting strategies, and communication skills. Ana is bilingual, fluent in both Spanish and English. She also enjoys dancing and Latin music.
Jessica Pereira, BA, CBIF, CATC 4240R
Substance Abuse/Mental Health Counselor
Jessica is a behavioral health counselor, providing individual substance abuse and mental health counseling for adults and adolescents. At Sunrise Community Counseling Center, Jessica has been working as a mental health provider for three years, and worked as a case manager for two years. She provides counseling to clients who have open cases with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), or are struggling with current life stressors. Jessica has experience working with the homeless population and is particularly interested in helping monolingual Spanish speaking Latino immigrants who lack knowledge of navigating the DCFS and U.S. criminal justice systems. She is also a counselor for Sunrise’s Domestic Violence Batterer’s Program and the Domestic Violence Victims Program. Jessica is certified as a Recovery Specialist, Batterer’s Intervention Facilitator, and is registered in the California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators (CAADE). She also holds certification in Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA). Jessica received her Associates of Arts Degree in Human Services/Drug & Alcohol Studies at Los Angeles Community College, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. As someone who immigrated to Los Angeles from Peru as an adolescent, Jessica empathizes greatly with Latinos who struggle with acculturation/adjustment, language barriers, and navigating the U.S. legal system. She is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Sharon Miranda, AA, CATC II, DVPT
Substance Abuse Counselor/DV Facilitator
Sharon has been a substance abuse counselor at Sunrise since 2013 and is in charge of facilitating the outpatient substance abuse treatment groups and the domestic violence groups for batterers. In addition to those, Sharon also facilitates the psychoeducational group for adolescents ages 13-17. Sharon is certified as an Addictions Treatment Counselor II (CATC II) by the California Association of Drug Educators, and she is a certified Domestic Violence Batterer’s Prevention facilitator. She holds Associate Degrees in Drug/Alcohol Education and Administration of Justice from Los Angeles City College and aspires to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Services from Cal State University Los Angeles in the near future. Sharon loves working at Sunrise and enjoys the work she does. She deeply appreciates the opportunity to expand her knowledge and experience in the counseling she provides for the community. Sharon is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Alan Pineda, AA, CATC I
Peer Support Specialist/Substance Abuse Counselor
Alan is certified as an Addictions Treatment Counselor I (CATC I) by the California Association of Drug Educators. He holds an Associate Degrees in Drug/Alcohol Education from Los Angeles City College and is currently working on coursework to obtain a Bachelors Degree in psychology. At Sunrise, Alan has facilitated parent education and substance abuse groups. He currently facilitates an HIV prevention education program for at risk youth 13-24. Alan was born in Guerrero, Mexico and is fluent in English and Spanish.
Jennifer Cortez, BSW
Lead Case Manager
Jennifer assists Sunrise clients by connecting them to additional resources while in Sunrise’s counseling programs. In addition to these services, Jennifer conducts client intakes and manages client data for all federally-funded SAMHSA programs. Jennifer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Cal State University Los Angeles and is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Gabriela Lara, BA
Gabriela conducts client intakes for the federally-funded SAMHSA grant programs at Sunrise. She also co-facilitates the youth group counseling sessions. She attended Cal State Dominguez Hills for two years before transferring to Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services. Gabriela was born and raised in Los Angeles and is fluent in English and Spanish.
Karla De La Torre, AA
Client Liaison/Administrative Assistant
At Sunrise, Karla helps identify, cultivate, and steward new and existing corporate relationships. She also fosters relationships and develops partnerships with community organizations and educational institutions. In addition, Karla supports outreach efforts in the Latina/o, African American, and LGBT communities in SPA 4. Karla received her Associate of Science Degree in Psychology and Human Services from Los Angeles City College. Prior to joining Sunrise, Karla worked at the Braille Institute, where she helped with the overall direction of day-to-day activities, operations, and programs. She also worked as an intern for Barrio Action, where she led discussion groups on various topics pertaining to adolescent development. Karla also has experience working with the migrant worker community and their families in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Colima, Mexico, Karla is fluent in Spanish and English.