JESSICA MEYER, BA
Jessica Meyer is a mental health professional who has spent over seven years working in various roles in this field. She has a Bachelors’s degree in psychology and has worked with various populations of young people ranging from two years old to 18 years old. Jessica has experience managing caseloads of youth in treatment foster care, working closely with psychiatrists, therapists, lawyers, and families. In her work in New Mexico, she received training in DBT and CBT and has also received training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in her work with autistic children. Additionally, Jessica has experience and has been trained in various types of de-escalation techniques and crisis management.
Not only has Jessica worked in the treatment field, but is in personal recovery herself. Because of this, she has empathy and compassion for those who are in treatment and who have their own struggles. Jessica works very hard in her own 12 step program and has a deep passion for being of service to others. She especially loves teenagers, with deep compassion for all their struggles and strengths.
BRIANA ESPARAZA, BA
Briana is a teacher with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Antioch University. Her BA degree was in television production where she began working in casting with child actors and then shifted to her passion for education. Once at Antioch she developed her teaching philosophy of promoting social justice and specialized teaching for the individual.
Through her experiences of teaching at various schools in the Los Angeles area, Briana became skilled at helping children with not only their academic goals, but in focusing on social and emotional learning as well. Briana has worked with children and adolescents with many different types of special needs, disabilities, and emotional challenges.
Briana’s main goal is to facilitate a comfortable environment where children’s needs will be heard. She is consistently focused on assisting young people in their academic needs to stay on track, as well as acquiring the tools to work through any issues so they are enabled them to develop the best version of their true selves
Stephanie is a certified nursing assistant and is working to pursue her Bachelor of Science with a Major in Nursing. In 2014 Stephaine started working children and teens. With an interest in the medical field and a desire to work with young people, Stephanie began her career working in treatment for rehabilitation with young adults.
Following her passion in 2019, she transitioned into working with teens in the mental health field and joined Polaris as a Program Aide. As an integral part of the Polaris team, she was promoted to Lead Program Aide and eventually to Residential Supervisor, in which she co-supervises all floor staff. Working for Polaris, Stephanie has been able to witness the positive impact and change the program and staff have on the teens and their families.
BRITANNY GUITERREZ, BS
Britanny earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from California State University of Northridge. She has been working with children from ages six to seventeen. She enjoys working with teens because they like to connect with others, they teach others their creativity and have truthful, meaningful conversations on life. Britanny has a background in teaching physical education and adaptive skills such as social etiquette, basic needs of self-care, and managing money to young adults. She has a passion for helping adolescents through her personal experience with going through some mental health subjects.
Working at Polaris is really rewarding for her due to the progression that each individual teen encounters from beginning to end in treatment. Each teen overcomes obstacles they have not encountered before. She is a proud member of the Polaris team and is working as a program manager and alumni coordinator.
AI KUSUHARA, MA, LMFT
Human Resources Manager
Ai Kusuhara is a mental health professional, parenting educator, & child and adolescent advocate, currently in the role of Human Resources Director. Ai has been working at Polaris from the very first day of operation. Earning her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute with emphasis on Depth Psychology, Ai brings her clinical expertise in assessments and intake throughout the admission process. Prior to Polaris, Ai Kusuhara has worked with children, adolescents, individuals, and families providing culturally sensitive social services both as a therapist, case manager, and parenting educator at the Little Tokyo Service Center (CDC), as well as a psychotherapist, seeing individuals at Coldwater Counseling.
ROBERT BRACALIELLO, BS, AA
Robert Bracaliello began working in treatment in 2001 as a counselor for at risk youth after earning his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Rutgers University. He went on to earn Associate of Arts in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu in 2004. Robert has served as a restaurant consultant, personal chef, food judge, sous chef, and executive chef/owner of Residential Dining Solutions. We are excited because of the insight he brings to the position bridging the world of food service and treatment. His multi-faceted experience translates to a better experience for our residents and guests.
AMY HARGER, BA
Amy Harger has worked with children, adolescents, and young adults for many years in various employment and volunteer roles. She began working at Polaris as a Program Aide and now serves as Administrative Coordinator. Throughout this time, she has enjoyed working directly with teens and getting to see their growth. Amy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in criminal behavior from California Lutheran University. She is currently working towards receiving her Master’s in Social Work from California State University – Northridge.