- Mendi Baron LCSWFounder/CEOMendi is a passionate advocate for teens and young adults in the fields of mental health and addiction. Baron creates programs to bring a unique approach to the treatment of adolescents and young adults who are struggling with a variety of emotional and behavioral disorders and substance abuse issues. Clinically trained, Baron earned a BA with honors in psychology and social work at the University of Maryland and an MSW at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. His extensive experience as a therapist includes individual and group counseling for children, adolescents, and families in various settings.
Gaining insight and experience, he has worked at several treatment centers including the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development, the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau, Chabad Crisis Centers, and the Center for Discovery and Adolescent Change. Before launching Ignite Teen Treatment, Mendi conceived and built, from the ground up, multiple successful, high end adolescent residential and outpatient programs in Los Angeles. Mendi has appeared on the Dr. Phil show, is regularly featured in mental health and addiction publications, and speaks around the country in person and on Tv/Radio on these topics.
With his newest ventures, Mendi instills a rare blend of energy, creativity, and experience to the treatment of teens, young adults, and their families struggling with addiction and mental health issues. The son of a Rabbi, eldest of 11 children, is a part-time rock musician, boxer, cantor, and father of three.
- Gryphon WardFounder/COOGryphon brings impeccable education and experience to Ignite Teen Treatment. He holds a BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Delaware and an MA in Corporate Communication from Duquesne University. He has worked as a DUI evaluator for the state of Delaware, assigning offenders to appropriate outpatient alcohol education classes; a volunteer for the Family Court Juvenile Justice Division, keeping non-violent first time juvenile offenders out of the system; a STEM teacher to at-risk youth at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and a facility manager and then a counselor education liaison for Center for Discovery in Los Angeles.
Together with Mendi Baron, Gryphon built successful, high end adolescent residential and outpatient programs in Los Angeles. His commitment to helping struggling teens make lifelong positive choices is unwavering. This New Jersey native is an amusement park enthusiast who still holds a season pass to Six Flags.
- Alan J. BondChief Financial OfficerAlan has developed a unique financial management perspective through leadership positions in the corporate, consulting, and financial market worlds, including a financial management position at a major Health Maintenance Organization, where he also served as their representative in a national industry group in Washington, D.C. He has specialized in creating and developing sophisticated financial management processes and systems in diverse corporate environments, as well as leading financing efforts for corporations throughout his career. Most recently, Alan was the Chief Financial Officer at Avalon by the Sea, a high-end adult treatment center and held a similar position at Evolve Treatment Centers, a large adolescent behavioral health-care treatment corporation.
Alan holds an A.B. degree with Honors in Economics from the School of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University, where he became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, as well as an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
- Devon Romo CADC-II, ICADCBusiness Development, Marketing and OutreachDevon Romo is a certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor with over eighteen years’ experience working with adolescents and young adults. The majority of her career has been spent as the Adolescent Director of a coed twenty bed chemical dependency treatment program in California. This is where she learned hands on under amazing mentors how to be the most effective with a resistant population.
Devon also spent multiple years as the marketing and admissions director of two young adult treatment programs that emphasized education and personal growth as well as long term mental health. This gave her the opportunity to travel all over the country and participate and train with leaders in the field of mental health and chemical dependency. Focusing on ethics and evidenced based practices.
Devon Romo combines her personal experience as a graduate of an adolescent treatment program herself and as a mother of a child with a disability with her extensive professional experience to come from a place of unconditional regard for the entire family. “Accountability and personal growth is a product of self-worth and respect”.
- Robert Rhinehart IIIExecutive DirectorRobert Rhinehart brings with him an array of practical and insightful knowledge and expertise with 14+ years of experience with children and adolescents in education, mental health and substance abuse. Prior to Ignite Rob served as Regional Director of Operations and Group Home Administrator for 3 residential group homes and 2 IOP/PHP facilities in the Greater Los Angeles Area. As Regional Director, he was tasked with program implementation and development, training of personnel, and oversight of those facilities.
Robert’s experience spans from being a childcare counselor for severely abused, neglected children in a group home setting, to being an aide and then behavior specialist at special needs/non-public schools, and Dual Diagnosis Counselor in residential treatment for teens.
Robert pulls from these experiences as well as his own journey to promote different perspectives, interests and coping skills for youth to battle difficulties. Robert believes in lifelong learning, constant refinement; and applies this through reading, exercise, adopting healthier habits and “lifestyle” challenges.
- Dr. Jason CastilloMedical DirectorDr. Castillo brings a commitment to personalized, compassionate psychiatric care with an emphasis on treating the person as a whole.
While obtaining his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Georgetown University, his academic interests ranged from evolutionary neurobiology to film/music studies and he witnessed profound academic and political change directly from policy makers in Washington, DC.
As an osteopathic physician (DO), Dr. Castillo emphasizes the whole-person approach to medical and psychiatric issues with the recognition that the patient is a unique person who must be integrated as an active participant in the healing process.
He continues to work as an advocate for patients and families by lowering barriers to competent care and stopping the immense stigma of mental health treatment. As a native of Southern California and former Eagle Scout he has a deep love for the outdoors and local hiking trails and enjoys playing soccer, gardening, reading, and spending time with his two small dogs.
- Lori Ballesteros, LCSWIndividual, Group, And Family TherapistLori has devoted her professional career to working with people of all ages, and diversity, who have mental health, developmental, and physical challenges.Her career as a special education specialist, and clinical , and school social worker has spanned over thirty years . The majority of her career has been spent as a school social worker for the Stamford Board of Education, a multi -diverse city school system of elementary, middle school, and high school placements, in Stamford Connecticut .
Fifteen of those years were spent at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering , a S.T.E.M. inter district Magnet High School for teens and their families . Being able to promote the cognitive, affective, and behavioral skill development in and out of the classroom, led her passion to understand the impact that trauma dynamics has on teens and their families .This was the impetus which encouraged her to introduce Dialectical Behavior Therapy, to the educational setting . Thus she piloted the district’s first DBT program.
Her undergraduate work was completed at the University of Denver. A combination of personal, and professional interests led her to pursue a graduate degree in working with the visually impaired at Boston College Graduate School for Educators of the Visually Impaired.
She also graduated from New York University Graduate School of Social Work.
Being a native of Connecticut, she is grateful to be out West again and to be a member of such a visionary team as Ignite Teen Treatment.
- Kayla JeffersonFacility Manager
Kayla Jefferson brings with her over 15 years of classroom, coaching and mental health experience.
In the classroom Kayla got her feet wet as a Para-Educator working in RSP and SDC classrooms in Lawndale, CA.
Kayla spent 3 years as a volunteer Little League softball coach for 10u and 14u. She also coached at the high school Varsity Level. In her first year as Head Coach at Community Harvest Charter School in Sherman Oaks, CA, she was able to coach her team to their first playoff appearance in school history. In her third year with that program, she was able to coach her team to the championship game. Kayla then returned to her Alma Mater, Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, CA to join their Varsity coaching staff and remained until 2015.
Introduced to the adolescent mental heath field in 2015, Kayla began her career in Topanga, CA as a Counselor. She was soon promoted to Academic Coordinator and ended her tenure at that treatment center as Associate Facility Manager. Kayla has a passion for kids and makes it her mission to build a relationship with each client that enters Ignite.
- Dr. Jamie Cichon, MDMDDr. Cichon is a passionate advocate for increased quality care standards as it relates to mental healthcare. As a native of Las Vegas she is familiar with many of the dire challenges faced by the state, particularly as it relates to high suicide rates and a general lack of quality mental health treatment.
Dr. Cichon has impressive academic and clinical experience. She received her educational training from Washington University (St. Louis) and received undergraduate degrees in both Spanish and Biochemistry. She was also fortunate to live abroad in Europe where she pursued one of her passions as a Yoga instructor, traveling Pilates instructor with Pilates Madrid and language instructor.
In 2011 Dr. Cichon graduated from the University of Nevada School of Medicine and completed her Psychiatry Residencey at the prestigious Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida. She completed an internship at the Maricopa Integrated Health System in Arizona. More recently she has been practicing medicine in West Virginia as the only female psychiatrist responsible for the hospital’s patients requiring both psychiatric and neurological care, and outpatient treatment for teens, women and trauma survivors. Dr. Cichon was a mental health advocate for her patients seeking disability from.work related accidents and veterans health benefits . She provided forensic testimony in child abuse and custody cases and was closely involved in monitoring of high risk pregnancies with comorbid psychiatric disorders.
Her professional background includes inpatient and outpatient work in a variety of settings including inpatient and outpatient evaluations, medication management, and psychotherapy. She has a special interest in women’s mental health issues including hormonal changes as related to mood disorders. Dr. Cichon utilizes psychopharmacology and modern therapies as well as integrative medicine and holistic approaches, As a former yoga instructor, Dr. Cichon incorporates mindfulness and meditation into her treatments.
- Jennifer Trevino, RDN, LD, CPTHealth And Nutrition SpecialistJennifer is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist who received a Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition Sciences from UNLV as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from UNR. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor that has worked with populations of all ages and fitness levels for over 10 years. Jennifer strongly believes in the power of individualized nutrition and fitness regimes to learn how the science of the body works and how optimal eating can have a dramatic affect on body fat, lean muscle mass, hormonal balance, athletic performance, depression, and disease prevention.
- Brie SpezzialeAcademic CoordinatorBrie Spezziale is a passionate mentor whose main focus is to be a positive influence for adolescents. She moved to Las Vegas in 2015 from Southern California to start a new career.
Brie always knew she wanted to help adolescents who were struggling, based off of personal experiences as an adolescent. Although she comes from the world of hair design, she makes sure to put her creativity and drive into everything she does.
Brie is also the Academic Coordinator here at Ignite Teen Treatment. Education is a very important component to Ignite, and she strives to ensure that the process of returning back to school is as smooth as possible for both student as well as family.
- Leeanna MilesLead MentorLeeanna’s passion for mental health bloomed as a teenager in the middle of her own struggle. She continued to build her interest in the field by moving from Washington state to Las Vegas, Nevada to pursue her Bachelor’s of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Leeanna used her time at UNLV to conduct research of emotional awareness, as well as volunteered her time for the advocacy of service dogs in the mental health community. She graduated in 2018, and has excitedly used her education and personal experiences to help give emotional support, provide motivation, and be a role model for adolescents.
- Kiarra SpezzialeMentorKiarra started her journey into the human services field in 2015, when she began working with adults at a dual-diagnosis treatment facility in Southern California.
Over the next few years she spent her time as a counselor at this facility, while completing an alcohol and drug studies program through Saddleback College. In 2018, she switched her focus to helping adolescents, after relocating to Las Vegas, NV.
Kiarra now uses her education, personal experience, and compassion to provide motivation, emotional support, and positive role-modeling as a mentor for teens.
- Jessica MihaiMentorJessica has always had a passion for helping and caring for others. Jessica made her way out to Las Vegas in 2014 from beautiful Southern Orange County California. Jessica has two degrees, one in General Studies and one in Interior Design, as well as being a licensed Cosmetologist.
Jessica has worked in Customer Service most of her adult career life, whether that’s working at a Homeowner’s Association, working in multiple high end spas/salons, owning her own salon, running a Massage Envy as an Administrative Manager, but never has she found anything more perfect for her and her personality than working as a Mentor at Ignite. Nothing can ever beat seeing someone you have helped personally grow and flourish into a more positive life.