Since completing his four years of training at the renowned LAC-USC Medical Center, Dr. Raul Mendoza has been serving the local community for the past 25 years in private practice in general psychiatry with an emphasis in chemical dependency. He has served the community in numerous ways; most notably, Dr. Mendoza has provided consultation and liaison services at various local general hospitals and served as the medical director for the Charter Hospital Chemical Dependency Program and the Memorial Center Behavioral Health Chemical Dependency Program. Most recently, he served as the medical director for the Crestwood Psychiatric Health Facility/Mental Health Rehabilitation Center/Bridge Program from 2008-2013. Additionally, he continues to maintain active medical staff membership at Good Samaritan Hospital, a local psychiatric hospital.
Sonya Robinson has been in the drug and alcohol counseling field for nine years. Her own struggles with addiction sparked her interest in counseling others and drew her to the field. She has now been clean and sober for over ten years and uses her experience in recovery to mentor others in need. Sonya is experienced in working with a diverse population. However, she has a passion for working with at-risk women. She started her education at Taft College where she earned an A.A. in psychology. She continued her education by enrolling in the Drug and Alcohol Studies program at Cal State Bakersfield, which she completed in 2009. She completed her internship from 2008-2009 at Salvation Army and was awarded “Intern of the Year.” She worked as a counselor and program director at another intensive outpatient treatment facility before joining Aspire. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her large family, including her grandchildren, camping, hiking, and horseback riding.
Evan Cason is a native of Los Angeles who moved to Bakersfield in 2013. He previously worked as a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service until an injury created an opportunity for a career change. Having struggled with addiction himself, Evan has always had a passion for helping others in recovery. To this end, he completed an associate’s degree in social and behavioral sciences at El Camino College before attending Cal State Bakersfield’s Drug and Alcohol Studies program. Evan worked with diverse populations in individual and group settings at both a residential and intensive outpatient treatment center before joining the Aspire team. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, which includes several pets, and watching sports.
Jessica Patterson-Byrd is a Taft native who has been in the alcohol and drug counseling field since 2011. Due to struggling with alcoholism herself, Jessica has always had a passion for helping others in recovery, especially the young adult population. To this end, she completed the Drug and Alcohol Studies program at Cal State University Bakersfield in 2013 and currently holds the title of Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-II) and Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC). Jessica worked with diverse populations in both individual and group settings at a residential and intensive outpatient treatment center before joining the Aspire team. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, participating in community recovery programs and sleeping in.
Steven Jones is a Kern County native and was born and raised in Bakersfield. He is very passionate about helping others over come their addictions, having battled his own addictions for many years. He has been clean and sober for several years now and has worked in the field of recovery for the last six years. Steven is currently a registered drug and alcohol technician (RADT) and is in the process of becoming a certified counselor. When not working to help others change their lives, Steven enjoys spending his with his daughter and watching sports.
Michelle Rich is a native of Ridgecrest, CA who has lived in Bakersfield since 2011. She previously worked in retail for Albertson’s until a catastrophic event, created an opportunity for a career change. Having struggled with addiction herself, Michelle has always had a passion for helping others in recovery. Michelle completed Cal State Bakersfield’s Drug and Alcohol Studies program in 2014. Michelle has worked with diverse populations in individual and group settings at both a residential and intensive outpatient treatment center before joining the Aspire team. In her free time, she enjoys time with her family, which includes 2 beautiful pit bulls, fishing, concerts, being part of the recovery community and giving back what was so freely given to her.
Ben Page is Kern County native who was born and raised in Bakersfield. Ben is an Aspire Counseling Services® alumnus who decided he wanted to give back by becoming a counselor and helping those still battling the disease of addiction. Ben completed Cal State Bakersfield’s Drug and Alcohol Studies program in 2017 and immediately began working as a counselor for another organization before coming “home” to Aspire where he had found his recovery. Ben also holds an AA degree in Business Administration from Bakersfield College. In his free time, he enjoys paddle boarding, hiking, yoga, and working out in general.