Allies with Families

Meet the Allies Team

Get acquainted with the remarkable individuals on our team.

Allies has assembled a skilled staff to bring you the best in information and support for mental wellness. In addition to their expert abilities and approachable natures, every Allies staff member has a child or family member with mental health needs — ensuring that you will be served with professionalism and real-world understanding.

Lori Cerar

Lori Cerar

Executive Director

Lori is the mother of two children, one of whom has profound disabilities, and has one grandchild. She also has a sibling who has experienced a mental health disorder. Lori has worked as Executive Director of Allies with Families since 2002 and prior to that was a family consultant for five years.

Lori has been trained in wraparound facilitation, negotiation and mediation, cultural competency, the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health Evaluation Curriculum, Building Systems of Care (with Sheila Pires), and Georgetown University's Leadership Academy. She is also a certified Children's Case Manager. Lori has attended and presented at numerous local, regional, and national conferences.

Tena Beckstrom

Tena Beckstrom

Office Manager

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Tena's passion is to serve other families that are searching for help and support for their children with mental and emotional challenges. She is the mother of four children and six stepchildren, and has 17 grandchildren. Several of her children have mental health issues including drug addiction.

Tena has worked or volunteered for Allies with Families since 2002. She has been a family advocate, a teacher, and has sat on the Board of Trustees. She has successfully completed multiple courses, including certification from the State of Utah as a Targeted Case Manager. Tena has been part of the Utah Governor's Initiative for Transformation to Adult Living for children aging out of foster care and has presented at several mental health functions locally and nationally.

Natalie Marshall

Natalie Marshall

System of Care Mentor

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Natalie is the sister of several children that have emotional and behavioral challenges. She understands the complexity of these challenges and their impact on families.

Natalie has experience working with teens and children, as well as adults with intellectual disabilities. She is passionate about working with people and supporting families. She became the Family Resource Facilitator at The Children’s Center in Salt Lake City in January, 2013. In December of 2015, Natalie also began mentoring other Family Resource Facilitators. As of May, 2016, she is the full-time System of Care Mentor.

Natalie has her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah.

ChanNa Sok

ChanNa Sok

Peer Parent Program Supervisor

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ChanNa has been the Peer Parent Program Supervisor since November, 2013. Prior to working at Allies with Families, ChanNa was a permanency caseworker on the Family Drug Court team in Utah County. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University and used her passion for mental health advocacy as a utilization review manager in various psychiatric adolescent residential care facilities, collaborating with mental health professionals for medically necessary treatment for youth from across the country. She has volunteered in adult outpatient, researched at the Utah State Hospital, and participated in foster care and child welfare advocacy on the state and national levels.

ChanNa enjoys traveling, personal development, learning languages, meditation, Asian food, and being around great friends and family!

Lorraine Paris

Lorraine Paris

Family Resource Facilitator

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Lorraine Paris has worked providing families with resources for ten years. She joined with the Allies team in July of 2014, after working with families in the domestic violence shelter as an aftercare case manager and a victim advocate. Lorraine has loved and supported family members challenged by mental health issues. She said she would do her job for free, although her favorite job is being a mom to the four blessings she “gave birth to” and two that she recently acquired through marriage to her wonderful husband.

Lorraine has had training in the mental health field and is excited to apply Wraparound training through Family Resource Facilitator opportunities at Weber Human Services.

Lori DeYoung

Lori Smith

Family Resource Facilitator

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Lori joined the Allies team in the summer of 2014 as a Family Resource Facilitator at Weber Human Services. Lori enjoyed her previous experience as a peer mentor for children with disabilities for a non-profit organization. She also loved working in special education at an elementary school. For several years, Lori served as an advisor over a girls’ youth community program and has participated as a counselor in various summer youth programs.

Lori graduated from Weber State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies. Lori loves to travel, spend time with family and friends, and be outdoors.

Wendy Ferre

Marcela Rafide

Family Resource Facilitator

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Born and raised in Chile and a single mother of a young adult son who has learning disabilities, Marcela has a unique perspective and has a passion to advocate for families, mothers, children and the elderly. She firmly believes that we can impact those around us and that we are fundamentally and deeply connected to each other. Marcela hopes her interest in biodiversity will help her to better serve those in need.

Marcela has been a volunteer translator, a parent advocate, an Early Intervention Specialist II, and a Nutrition Assistant Educator for Utah State University. She continues to serve her community and joined Allies with Families in March of 2015 working at Valley Behavioral Health serving Summit County as a Family Resource Facilitator.

Already fluent in French, Spanish and English, Marcela is now improving her Italian and Portuguese. She has traveled extensively and has a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Development as well as a degree in Early Childhood Education. Marcela has many interests including dancing, music, cooking, hiking, skiing and other outdoor activities and is a certified scuba diver.

Wendy Ferre

Sharon Carlson

Family Resource Facilitator &

FRF Mentor

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Sharon has served as the Executive Director of the Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia and the Georgia Supreme Court Committee on Justice for Children in an advisory capacity. She has served on many committees including the Governor’s Action Committee for Children, and GADEC (Georgia Drug Endangered Children). The Georgia Foster Parent Bill of Rights and Grievance Procedure was created and signed into law under her direction. She is an active member of NFPA (National Foster Parent Association) and has presented her workshops in several states as well as at National Foster Parent Conferences.

Sharon and her husband, Dr. Jack H. Carlson, have been married for over 47 years. Together they have seven birth children, 5 adopted children, and 10 grandchildren. The Carlson’s work with children who have special needs has been widely recognized in the states of Minnesota and Georgia. Sharon’s love for children with special needs has been increased after training as a wraparound facilitator. She currently serves as the Family Resource Facilitator in Heber City and began assisting as an FRF mentor for Allies with Families in May of 2015.

Wendy Ferre

Molly Garren

Military Family Resource Facilitator &

Family Peer Support

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Molly is a military wife and the mother of three children. She has personal family experience with mental health issues and understands the challenges associated with these issues. Molly has a strong desire to help other military families find and receive the services they need through their current community as well as through their military community. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Administration and has personally helped many military families find the appropriate resources that best suit their needs. She joined Allies with Families as the Military FRF in June of 2015. She is also one of the Family Peer Supports for the System of Care in the Northern region.

Molly enjoys hiking, bicycling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Jerianne Robinson

Jerianne Robinson

Peer Parent Program Assistant &

Peer Parent

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Jerianne joined Allies with Families in March, 2014, as a Peer Parent in the Western Region of Utah. In September of 2015, she became the Peer Parent Program Assistant as well. Full bio to come!

Adam Nance

Adam Nance

Family Resource Facilitator

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Adam came to Allies in January, 2016, as the third Family Resource Facilitator at Weber Human Services. He is married and the father of five children, ages 10 through nineteen. He has family members who have experienced substance abuse and mental health challenges. He has a zeal for teaching and helping others. Adam began working with troubled teens as a mentor coach in 2006. He has volunteered with Head Start and is an active member in this church congregation.

Adam studied at Weber State University and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in psychology. He enjoys cycling and traveling.

Amanda Duran

Amanda Duran

Family Resource Facilitator &

Family Peer Support

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Amanda is mother of three children and has been married to her husband for over twelve years. She is originally from Colombia. She has experience dealing with mental health one-on-one as her daughter lives with mental illness challenges. Using the mental health system, support programs, and other resources, including NAMI programs, has allowed for her personal growth. Amanda knows these programs work and wants to share her knowledge to help other families overcome these issues as she did with her family. She joined Allies in February of 2016 and is part-time Family Resource Facilitator at The Children's Center in Salt Lake City as well as part-time System of Care Family Peer Support for the Salt Lake region.

Amanda has volunteered at a non-profit organization for the past two years as Peer Family Support for those in the Latino community that have mental health issues. She has received her Bachelor’s Degree in Registered Nursing from the University San José of Bogotá, Colombia.

Robyn Brickey

Robyn Brickey

Family Resource Facilitator

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Robyn Is the mother of two children, one of whom was diagnosed with mental health issues at age 3. She also has experience with family members who have had mental health disorders. Robyn joined Allies with Families as a Family Resource Facilitator at the Utah State Hospital in April, 2015. She has previous experience working at the State Hospital as a Disabilities Advocate. Additionally, she has worked with children and adolescents with disabilities as the director of a youth summer camp. Robyn is a certified mediator. She enjoys working with families and is passionate about changing the perception of people with mental health issues.

Robyn has been married for 11 years. She received her Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from the University of Utah. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and camping with her family.

Anna Douglas

Anna Douglas

Sibshop & UPPTCP Programs Coordinator

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Anna has several siblings with special needs. She has loved being a facilitator since September, 2015, for the Sibshop program that supports and celebrates siblings of children with special needs. In April 2016, she joined the Allies team full-time to coordinate the Sibshop program, as well as the Utah Peer Paraprofessional Training and Certification Program. She is passionate about celebrating and empowering families.

Anna has worked as a special needs nanny, mental health case manager, and advocate for survivors of sexual violence. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in social work from the University of Utah.

Anna is a Salt Lake City local and enjoys the beauty, great food, and entertainment that the city has to offer. She loves spending time with her family, traveling with her husband, and spoiling her cat.

Amanda Sofonia

Amanda Sofonia

Family Peer Support

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Amanda, or “Mandy”, joined Allies in May, 2016, as a Family Peer Support for the System of Care in the Salt Lake region. She is married with four wonderful children. She loves photography, planting flowers, reading, going to the beach, and thinks family is the most important thing. Her oldest son was diagnosed with Autism at a young age. Her youngest son has Type 1 Diabetes and challenging behaviors.

Mandy graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Consumer Studies. She played Division 1 softball in college. She has worked in the Head Start program and with the P.T.A. on special projects such as getting fathers more involved in their children’s lives, children’s safety, and drug prevention on a regional level. She also has experience in the mental health field and is passionate about helping others and believes it is never too late to live your happily ever after.

Stacey Shirra

Family Resource Facilitator

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Stacey is the mother of two adult children. She has been married to her husband for over 28 years. Stacey has multiple family members with moderate to severe mental illness, substance abuse, and gender issues. She is passionate about providing information, supports, and advocating for individuals and families working through these challenges.

Stacey has worked for many years as a teaching assistant in special needs classrooms working with students of all ages and abilities. Most recently, she worked with teens as a Transition Specialist helping young people plan for their life after high school. Stacey believes it is important that individuals and families have a voice and that they are heard as they create their plan for the future. She has been with Allies since May of 2016 as the FRF at Bear River Mental Health in Logan.

Linda Tyner

Linda Tyner

Family Peer Support

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Linda joined Allies in May of 2016 and is one of the Family Peer Supports for the System of Care in the Northern region of Utah. More info about Linda to come!

Daniela Alvarez

Daniela Alvarez

Family Peer Support

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Daniela is also a Family Peer Support for the System of Care but in the Western region of Utah joining Allies in July of 2016. She is originally from Romania and speaks four languages. She is married to a Marriage and Family Therapist from Tahiti-French Polynesia. They have three children. Their youngest son was born with Down’s syndrome and other medical conditions. In addition to caring for her children’s needs, Daniela was also a proctor mom to many adolescents in state custody over the years. Many of her proctor children had addictions and other mental health issues. Daniela believes that all individuals have value and deserve respect, kindness, and the help they need to cope with whatever challenges they may be facing.

Daniela earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Management from Brigham Young University-Hawaii and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Brigham Young University in Provo. Daniela has been serving on Freedom Preparatory Academy’s Governing Board for the past six years.

Lindsey Jeppson

Family Resource Facilitator

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Lindsey is a Family Resource Facilitator at Wasatch Mental Health in Provo, joining Allies in July of 2016. She is currently attending Utah Valley University studying Psychology. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree.

Lindsey has been a life-long resident of Utah except for one year. At age 19, she did have an opportunity to learn Spanish and work with Latinos while living in Mesa, Arizona for a year. With the various roles she has in her family (sister, daughter, cousin, and granddaughter), she has been able to provide support to those family members who struggle with mental illness. She also has personal experience coping with anxiety.

Lindsey believes that everyone deserves to be respected, listened to, understood, and empathized with. She finds the most joy helping someone else realize their value.

Marsha Lee

Marsha Lee

Family Resource Facilitator

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Marsha is a wife and the mother of two adult children. She has personal family experience with mental health. She has family members who have experienced substance abuse and mental health issues and understands the challenges associated with this. Marsha has a strong desire to help other families find the resources through our community.

Marsha joined Allies as the fourth Family Resource Facilitator at Weber Human Services in Ogden in July of 2016. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with her family.

Mary Ann Clawson

Family Resource Facilitator

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Mary Ann is a Family Resource Facilitator on the First Episode Early Psychosis Team at Wasatch Mental Health in Provo. She joined Allies in July, 2016. Originally from California, she is an empty nester with 10 children and 30 grandchildren. After her husband passed away in 1998, and because her older children were already in college in Utah, she moved here. In addition being together to grieve, Mary Ann’s older children helped raise her younger children.

In 2003, Mary Ann earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Brigham Young University in Provo. Mary Ann is passionate about helping families help themselves. She has worked for other non-profit organizations and has volunteered with GrandFamilies and Telecare (American Red Cross). Mary Ann enjoys spending time with family, reading, and making compost. She has fun making her yard into edible landscape!