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.
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.
Joe Kennedy is a Bakersfield native who has been in the alcohol and drug counseling field for fifteen years and has been clean and sober for eighteen years. His extensive career experience includes acting as director over a multi-phase program for the state of California, sitting on several boards, including the Collaborative of Kern County and Kern County Mental Health, and helping to develop the ten-year plan to stop homelessness. Joe earned a master's degree in biblical counseling in 2010, and his interest in spirituality influences his counseling style. He is also an elder in his church and a Sabbath school teacher. He especially enjoys family counseling and group facilitation. He is a family man who enjoys hiking the Pacific Coast Trail, reading, and staying fit.
Leslie Smith, while native to Bakersfield, was raised somewhere between Santa Barbara County, California and Austin, Texas. While living on the central coast of California, Leslie finished an A.A. in psychology and liberal arts and humanities, and an A.S. in early childhood education. She moved back to the Bakersfield area in 2012 to attend California State University, Bakersfield. Initially, Leslie sought a career in child development. However, having suffered from addiction herself during her teen years, Leslie knew her place was working with adolescents. Leslie changed majors in 2014, attending the Drug and Alcohol Studies program while earning a bachelors degree in 2017 with a double major in psychology and child, adolescent, and family studies. Leslie joined the Aspire team during the development of the adolescent intensive outpatient program, and has worked with a wide range of adolescents and their families in individual and group settings.
Meet the founder and president of Aspire, Scott Huhn! Scott started Aspire with the vision of transforming lives impacted by addiction and substance use through compassionate, evidence-based treatment that is personalized to fit each individual's needs. He is also the owner of New Vision Recovery Inc. a program that specializes in working with the school districts to design and implement intervention, prevention, and treatment modalities. He wants families who are struggling to know that there is always hope. While he can relate to all individuals struggling with addiction, he especially enjoys working with teenagers and their families. Though he has been sober for more than thirty years, Scott has firsthand experience with substance abuse and knows the havoc it wreaks on families. As a sixteen year old addicted to drugs and alcohol, he was bounced from various treatment facilities until the promise of real recovery finally sank in and he made a commitment to sobriety. His experience gave him the deeply rooted desire to help others to overcome the disease of addiction and to help families heal broken bonds. Scott began his career as an addiction specialist in 1987 and has extensive experience in both inpatient and outpatient programs. He received his credentials as a certified alcohol and drug counselor-certified addiction specialist (CADC-II-CAS) from the prestigious California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals. Additionally, he is a certified alcohol and other drug addictions specialist (CAS) through California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and son and going to the beach and mountains.
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.
Christine grew up in Northern California before moving to the Bakersfield area where she has been living for approximately fifteen years. Christine brings a great deal of life experience to this work after battling her own addiction for many years. Christine received her master’s degree of science in psychology from California State University, Bakersfield, California with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. This enables her connect with her clients on a variety of levels, in an empathetic and meaningful way. Christine understands the importance of having a safe place where clients can work through their challenges and celebrate their successes. Christine has direct experiencing working with individuals, couples, families, and groups in various mental health areas, such as anxiety/mood disorders and chemical dependency. In Christine’s free time she enjoys spending time with her family, dogs, and giving back to her community in a variety of ways.
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.
"Transforming lives impacted by addiction and substance use through compassionate, evidence-based treatment that is personalized to fit each individual's needs."
Aspire Counseling Services