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Mental Health

We believe healthy families need to feel supported in every aspect of their well-being, from quality education to expert mental health care. As a result, Mental Health services have long been a key element of our offerings. Today, Child Saving Institute (CSI) focuses on providing the mental health support children and families need through individualized therapy from licensed providers to medication management for your child or teen’s ongoing health and wellbeing.

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Pediatric & Adolescent Therapy

Our licensed therapists specialize in child and family therapy. They provide the support, skills and knowledge necessary to improve family relationships, reduce the painful impact of traumatic life events like abuse and neglect, divorce or family violence, and help families navigate typical challenges and everyday life events with expert guidance.

Medication Management

All children deserve to live happy, healthy lives. Sometimes medication management is necessary for children and families to be successful. Do you know a child or teen who could benefit from a psychiatric evaluation or medication services?

Our Mental Health Services Overview

Meet Our Providers

Lora Sladovnik

MS, LIMHP
Program Director

Sandra Cervantes

Bilingual Office Manager

Maureen W. Gatere

DNP, MPH, APRN
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

Andrew Powell

LICSW, PLADC
Pediatric & Adolescent Therapy Supervisor

Alexandria (Ally) Burchart

LICSW
Therapist

Ana Cruz

PhD, MA, PLMHP, NCC
Bilingual Therapist (English-Spanish)

Zach Davison

LICSW
Therapist

Sabrina Felix

PLMHP, PCMSW
Bilingual Mental Health Therapist

Coral Frazell

PhD, MA, LIMHP, LADC
Therapist

Cameron Koenig-Barker

LICSW
Therapist

Rebecca Masat

LICSW, MCRCJ
Therapist

Samara West

MA, PLMHP
Therapist

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Rebecca Welch

Site Director, Spellman Child Development Center

Stay tuned to hear all about Rebecca!

Sabrina Felix, PLMHP, PCMSW

Bilingual Mental Health Therapist

Sabrina brings a wealth of experience and passion for children's mental health to her role as a bilingual therapist.

Her journey with the organization began in the KidSquad, where she completed her practicum. While awaiting her official credentials as a Mental Health Therapist, she also gained valuable experience working as an educator at the Spellman Child Development Center. Regardless of the program, Sabrina consistently found Child Saving Institute’s (CSI) supportive team environment allowed her to fully focus on the children she served.

At the core of Sabrina's passion lies her deep desire to create a safe space for children. This allows them to simply be themselves and feel comfortable enough to express their emotions freely. Having been a first-generation Latina college student raised in a single-parent household, Sabrina understands the importance of creating spaces where children can thrive and be themselves. Her own upbringing as the only minority in her town inspired her to pursue a career where she could empower children to embrace their inner selves and navigate challenges with confidence.

Sabrina sees her role as a beacon of support for children who may not have had someone to listen to or empower them. Recognizing the critical importance of the first five years of development, she strives to equip children with the tools they need to build a positive trajectory into adulthood.

Beyond her professional work, Sabrina is actively involved in volunteering as a director in children's ministry and youth coordination. In her free time, Sabrina enjoys quality moments with her husband and their two dogs, indulging in activities like visiting the dog park, exercising, traveling and exploring different cuisines.

Rebecca Masat, LCSW, MCRCJ - Therapist

Rebecca Masat, LICSW, MCRCJ

Therapist

Rebecca has been an integral part of the CSI team since 2022. Her commitment to the work is driven by the profound complexity, vulnerability and sense of fulfillment it brings to her. Child welfare is her niche, and she consistently recognizes CSI as one of the leading agencies in this field.

What Rebecca enjoys most in her role as a therapist is working with teenagers and the ongoing encouragement to learn and grow as a practitioner. Building trust with youth and being a reliable source of support is incredibly rewarding. Moreover, the opportunity to delve into advanced modalities of therapy only enhances the reward. Recognizing the intricacy of trauma in the clientele she serves, Rebecca values continued opportunities for ongoing training, enabling her to address and heal deep-seated wounds.

Before joining CSI, Rebecca worked as a forensic interviewer at Project Harmony, conducting forensic interviews with children who may have been the victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or witness to violence. In addition to her work at CSI, Rebecca also works as an on-call crisis response therapist with Lutheran Family Services, providing crisis coverage for law enforcement and area shelters during behavioral health crises.

These experiences have shaped Rebecca into the therapist she is today. She possesses a passion for connecting with individuals who have experienced trauma, recognizing that sometimes, all it takes is one person to provide unwavering support and guide them toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

Outside of work, Rebecca values time spent with family. She's an avid Chiefs fan and has a deep love for sports, both as a spectator and a participant. Concerts, travel, and outdoor activities are some of her favorite pastimes. Her love for learning and personal growth is unwavering, and she enthusiastically embraces challenges and new experiences in life.

Lora Sladovnik, MS, LIMHP - Program Director

Lora Sladovnik, MS, LIMHP

Program Director

Lora, who oversees the Pediatric and Adolescent Therapy program, has been an invaluable member of CSI since 2020. Her commitment to the organization’s mission is unwavering, as she tirelessly serves children and families, fully aware that her work directly impacts the well-being and mental health of those in the Omaha and surrounding communities.

Lora's role at CSI is multifaceted, providing her with a constant source of interest and fulfillment. The collaborative environment allows her to work closely with like-minded professionals who share her profound passion for helping others, which she finds deeply rewarding.

Before joining CSI, Lora's career in the human services field included diverse positions in case management, foster care, therapy (including private practice) and a director role at an eating disorder program. Her unwavering dedication to making a difference in the lives of those she serves is a testament to her empathetic and nurturing nature.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Lora is an eager advocate for community well-being, regularly engaging in volunteer work and contributing to various community organizations. Her active involvement in her children's school and church underscores her commitment to fostering a better world.

In her free time, Lora finds joy in spending quality time with her family, prioritizing exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle, embarking on journeys that allow her to explore new places and indulging in her passion for cooking.

Maureen W. Gatere DNP, MPH, APRN - Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

Maureen W. Gatere, DNP, MPH, APRN

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

Maureen is a dedicated clinician whose journey to CSI began in August 2023. With a profound commitment to the mental well-being of children, she was drawn to CSI, captivated by its comprehensive services and a vision for even more vital services for the community in the future.

Maureen specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions with medications. Her deep empathy and passion for connecting with families is what sets her apart from others in her field. She finds great satisfaction in understanding the context surrounding the mental health and wellness of her patients. This profound comprehension aids in customizing medication services and psychotherapy to achieve optimal outcomes for everyone that walks through her door.

Maureen's impressive journey to this pivotal role commenced with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) specializing in psychiatry, achieved at UNMC. Her education journey is further enriched with a master’s degree in public health from UNMC, a BSN from Nebraska Methodist College and a bachelor's degree in biology from Northwest Missouri State University. With 15 years of experience in psychiatry and mental health, her career spans various capacities.

Throughout her journey, Maureen has had the privilege of collaborating with exceptional professionals who generously shared their expertise, enriching her clinical skills. For Maureen, the ultimate reward lies in witnessing patients not only recover but thrive in their daily lives.

Beyond her clinical duties, Maureen extends her passion for community well-being into her role as a reserve mental health nurse in the US Air Force. Additionally, she imparts her knowledge and experience as a clinical assistant professor of nursing at UNMC College of Nursing and has served on the board of directors at the Nebraska Diaper Bank.

Sandra Cervantes - Bilingual Office Manager

Sandra Cervantes

Bilingual Office Manager

Sandra is the dedicated bilingual Office Manager within CSI’s Mental Health Services department. Her journey with CSI is a testament to her unwavering commitment to mental health advocacy, particularly within the Latino community in Omaha.

When asked about her role at CSI, Sandra enthusiastically shares, “What drew me to CSI was my genuine concern for the mental well-being of children and their families, and the strong desire to create a safe haven for them." Sandra's passion shines as she explains what she enjoys the most about her role: Breaking mental health stigmas within the Latino community.

Sandra's professional journey has been characterized by her involvement with various non-profit organizations in the Omaha community. However, what truly sets CSI apart, in her opinion, is the unwavering dedication of the entire staff to the well-being of their clients.

Sandra believes teamwork is the key principle for success and feels that being able to collaborate effectively allows CSI staff to provide the best care possible for its clients.

Sandra's commitment to community well-being extends into her personal life. She is an active volunteer and has been involved in various community organizations. In her free time, Sandra enjoys the simple pleasures of life—socializing with friends and family, traveling, attending concerts and immersing herself in music.

Samara West, MA, PLMHP - Therapist

Samara West, MA, PLMHP

Therapist

Samara was drawn to the organization's commitment to providing comprehensive services for children and families. Her passion lies in facilitating connections between children and their emotions while guiding them on their path towards achieving their goals.

Her academic journey began at Iowa State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult and Family Services. After completing her undergraduate studies, Samara embarked on a career as a Visitation Specialist, eventually transitioning to a Child Support Specialist. Her desire to make a deeper impact led her back to school, culminating in the achievement of a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Westminster College in Pennsylvania.

Before her role as a therapist, Samara made significant contributions in the field as a Registered Behavior Technician within the Pediatric Feeding Disorders program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe Meyer Institute. Her unwavering commitment to working with children and families eventually paved the way for her current role as a therapist at CSI.

Samara finds fulfillment in witnessing the "light bulb" moments in her clients' journeys. She believes that effective communication is a cornerstone for success.

Outside of her professional life, Samara is an active participant in women's and coed volleyball, channeling her love for sports and team dynamics. She has recently taken up the art of crafting handmade bar soaps, showcasing her creative side. Additionally, Samara enjoys spending time outdoors, cherishing moments with friends and family, and indulging in her passion for watching TV series and movies.

Zach Davison, PLMHP, PCMSW - Therapist

Zach Davison, LICSW

Therapist

Zach brings over a year of dedicated therapy experience to the CSI team, and his journey has been nothing short of welcoming and inspiring. CSI's commitment to caring and continuous improvement shines through, making it a place where everyone strives to make a positive impact.

Zach brings a diverse background to his role. His journey began at Boys Town, where he worked in their summer program and eventually became a valuable part of the crisis line team, contributing to training and quality assurance. His path led him to Minnesota, where he worked with individuals with disabilities before the onset of COVID-19. The pandemic reshaped his trajectory, drawing him back into the realm of mental health, where he dedicated himself to working with children and families, fostering positive connections and enhancing lives. This rich and varied experience has molded Zach into a well-rounded therapist, with expertise spanning multiple domains.

The cornerstone of Zach's approach is warmth. Both the organization and its individuals must exude warmth to connect effectively with others. It's this connection that underpins the effectiveness of his work.

Outside of his professional life, Zach is passionate about spending time with people and animals. He has dedicated time to volunteering at animal shelters and actively participates in community events including the Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention and the Heartland Pride Parade. Yet, Zach's greatest fulfillment comes from watching his son grow. While he enjoys various hobbies that fill his free moments, nothing compares to the joy of quality time spent with friends and family.

Coral Frazell, PhD, MA, LIMHP, LADC - Therapist

Coral Frazell, PhD, MA, LIMHP, LADC

Therapist

Coral commenced her journey at CSI in 2022. She finds immense joy in her work, particularly in her interactions with clients, which led her to seek out the esteemed environment at CSI.

With a PhD in Developmental Psychology and a master’s in Counseling, Coral boasts dual licensure as both a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Her journey in the field began with her work with families at a prior agency, honing her expertise in evidence-based best practices like Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Her extensive 15-year career has provided expertise to both adults and children, leaving an indelible mark on her path.

Coral's experience in family therapy extends to her role as an educator. She imparts her knowledge as a professor at Doane College, teaching courses that delve into the techniques and theories of family therapy. Her work transcends the classroom, as she has aided families with children who faced separation and assisted in their successful reintegration.

Coral believes in the crucial value of teamwork. Beyond her professional role, she actively engages with her community. She has volunteered at the food shelter and consistently seeks opportunities to offer her services for the betterment of others.

At home, Coral can be found gardening, taking leisurely walks with her dogs, reading, crafting, and participating in a variety of musical endeavors including playing the piano and violin.

Cameron Koenig-Barker, LICSW - Therapist

Cameron Koenig-Barker, LICSW

Therapist

Cameron is a dedicated therapist, passionate about his work with both children and young adults, guiding them through their challenges while celebrating their innate strengths and worth. His greatest joys in his profession include fostering meaningful connections with his clients, delving into their unique life stories and witnessing their triumphs as they achieve their goals. he particularly enjoys with working LGBTQ+ youth and adolescents.

Cameron was drawn to CSI by its reputation and emphasis on professional growth and collaborative team environment.

Before his tenure at CSI, Cameron served as a social worker, where he assisted individuals in accessing crucial community services to reduce relapses into criminal behavior. During his graduate studies, he was a vital member of a team conducting public health research on LGBTQ+ health and needs, culminating in the development of the Huespring leadership program for LGBTQ+ young professionals. His pre-graduate school experiences in homeless services further shaped his approach to therapy, highlighting the pivotal role of relationships in facilitating change and recognizing the resilience of individuals.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Cameron is an active member of the River City Mixed Chorus, Omaha's sole LGBTQ+ chorus, where he has lent his voice and support for nearly a decade. He also serves on the board of Omaha ForUs, the city's new LGBTQ+ center, and leads a parenting group at Nebraska Medicine for Parents/Caregivers of Gender Expansive youth.

In his leisure time, Cameron finds peace in the great outdoors, often exploring Omaha's biking and hiking trails. With his multifaceted experiences and unwavering commitment to his clients and community, Cameron is a compassionate therapist and dedicated advocate who brings a holistic and empathetic approach to his work.

Emily Vonderfecht, PLMHP, PCMSW - Therapist

Emily Vonderfecht, PLMHP, PCMSW

Therapist

Emily has been a vital part of the CSI team since February 2023, where she plays a crucial role in helping families navigate the therapeutic process, providing support and fostering growth and healing.

Emily's CSI journey began during her clinical practicum with the Mental Health Services department. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for helping children and families, ultimately leading her to pursue a career at CSI after completing her graduate program. What drew her to the organization were the remarkable people she encountered, the professional development opportunities available and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact.

Emily finds satisfaction in building strong relationships with her clients and their caregivers. As a Provisionally Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role, having obtained her bachelor's degree in social work and English from Nebraska Wesleyan University and her master's degree in social work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Emily's background includes a diverse array of experiences, all focused on supporting children and families. These experiences have provided her with valuable insights into the various systems, influencing her approach.

One of Emily’s core values is intentionality. She believes that being intentional about communication, listening, self-care and support for others is vital for success.

Beyond her professional life, Emily is deeply committed to community well-being. She has actively volunteered with organizations such as the Lincoln Lighthouse, CEDARS, the Asian Community and Cultural Center and the BabyReads library program. These experiences have underscored the importance of promoting holistic family well-being.

Andrew Powell (He/Him) LICSW, PLADC Pediatric & Adolescent - Therapy Supervisor

Andrew Powell LICSW, PLADC

Pediatric & Adolescent Therapy Supervisor

Andrew began his journey with CSI in 2018, marking the inception of a fulfilling career dedicated to mental health and community empowerment with the agency. In his role, Andrew oversees agency practicum students, supervises fellow mental health therapists and conducts therapy sessions.

What drew Andrew to CSI, and continues to do so, is the organization's commitment to supporting and empowering individuals within the community. This driving force has guided Andrew through various roles, diverse training experiences and a profound understanding rooted in trauma-focused practices within a social work framework.

One of the recent transitions in Andrew's career has been stepping into the role of supervisor and mentor. It's a responsibility he approaches with enthusiasm, witnessing remarkable growth, transformation and empowerment in all the individuals he interacts with. The profound impact on the families, children and individuals served, as well as the personal development of his colleagues, fills Andrew's heart with purpose.

Andrew believes that empathy is the most crucial value. Whether supporting those in need or guiding fellow employees, he understands that everyone yearns to be seen and heard, and he strives to provide that essential connection through empathy and compassion.

Outside of the office, Andrew finds joy in a variety of activities. He enjoys diving into the world of literature, engaging in lively board and card games, and cherishing quality moments with family, friends, his partner and two beloved canine companions. In these pursuits, Andrew finds balance and rejuvenation to continue his impactful work at CSI where his dedication to community empowerment shines brightly.

Ana Cruz, PhD, MA, PLMHP, NCC Bilingual Therapist - (English-Spanish)

Ana Cruz, PhD, MA, PLMHP, NCC

Bilingual Therapist (English-Spanish)

Ana, a Bilingual Therapist with a heart dedicated to making a difference, joined the CSI team in 2023. Her career is a testament to her passion for communication and community well-being.

Originally from Havana, Cuba, Ana's journey to the United States was a remarkable one. She arrived in a foreign land at age eight without knowing any English. Yet, her determination and love for connecting with people, especially children, has led her to her current role. She strives to be a guiding light in the lives of the children she counsels, letting them know that she genuinely cares and is there to help, advocate and create a safe space.

Ana's academic background is as impressive as her dedication. She holds a PhD in communication studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and two master’s degrees in counseling and communication studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Before joining CSI, Ana was a professor at UNO. She taught a range of college courses in communication studies, with a special focus on family dynamics, cultural influences and interpersonal relationships.

As a native Spanish speaker, Ana often found herself interpreting for her parents and their friends as she grew older. Within a year of moving to the U.S., she had become fluent in English. Her commitment to making a difference extended internationally when she taught a family communications class in Spanish to social work graduate students in Nicaragua. As a consultant, she also taught the Common-Sense Parenting class in Spanish, a six-week program, sponsored by Boys Town.

Ana's role at CSI as a Bilingual Therapist demonstrates her dedication to helping children and families overcome challenges in their search for mental well-being.

Alexandria (Ally) Burchart, LICSW - Therapist

Alexandria (Ally) Burchart, LICSW

Therapist

Ally is a dedicated mental health therapist with a rich background. She was drawn to CSI by its unwavering commitment to the community and the organization’s deeply rooted values.

Ally’s role allows her to create a safe space, where individuals can embrace their true selves. She thrives on the collaborative spirit that permeates amongst CSI, relishing her role as an integral part of a team that shares her values and recognizes the importance of community.

Ally holds both a bachelor's and master’s degree of Social Work. Prior to CSI, she served as a Family Consultant for Early Head Start and lent her expertise as a caseworker at PromiseShip. Ally's dedication to her craft is evident in her pursuit of ongoing professional development, which includes training in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Play Therapy.

For Ally, the most gratifying aspect of her role is the opportunity to offer a sanctuary where individuals can simply be themselves. In a world often defined by categories and expectations, Ally's therapeutic space provides a liberating escape from those limitations. Witnessing her clients openly share their journeys—both the ups and the downs—as they progress and grow, is a source of fulfillment.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Ally is an avid reader and traveler. These interests offer her valuable perspectives that she carries into her work. Ally’s dedication to promoting authenticity and well-being in others shines brightly, making her a cherished asset to both CSI and the individuals she serves.