National Association of
Professional Women (NAPW)
Woman of the Year 2014-2015
Vanessa Kahlon, M.A.
Founder & Executive Director
With almost two decades of experience and a Masters in Clinical Psychology under her belt, Vanessa is no stranger to families whose children have special needs. In her various capacities, she has directed and supervised in-home Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) programs all around the Bay Area, as well as facilitating social skills groups and developing her own yoga curriculum.
YEAS Yoga (Yoga Education for Autism Spectrum) is an exciting, personalized program that Vanessa (a registered yoga instructor) created to address the physical and self-regulation needs of children with special needs. The YEAS yoga program has been featured in Bay Area Magazine and Autism Bay Area Parent.
Vanessa has extensive training in; DIR-Floortime (Greenspan), Sensory Integration Disorder, Early Childhood Mental Health & Trauma, Move With Me Action Adventures (Leah Kalish) and Zones of Regulation (Leah Kuypers). She also has her certification from the Child Trauma Institute of UCSF, where she worked with mothers and their children around attachment issues. Vanessa is a guest lecturer around the Bay Area at Support for Families – as well as various schools and organizations seeking professional development in behavior modification and management.
Vanessa is passionate about keeping families together, communicative, happy and healthy. Vanessa’s approach is professional, yet personal. She is relationship based – and she gets results! She cares deeply for all clients and their families, bringing purposeful challenges to stretch them beyond their current capacity.
Named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women in 2014, Vanessa also serves on the board of the Special Place Foundation, a residential-vocational community seeking self-sufficiency for adults with disabilities. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys a good latte, traveling, escaping to the beach, dancing, hiking, going to Disneyland and she really, really loves Unicorns.
Nora Richman, BSc.
KFS School Director
Development & Communication
Nora graduated with a BSc. Degree in Business – Major in Accounting and Minor Psychology in Human Behavior. She started her career in the corporate world in the Business Strategic Planning and Marketing field. After 11 years in the corporate world she decided to shift her world and follow her real passion to dedicate her career & skills to working with children and make a difference in their lives.
She acquired her K-6 General Ed. Teacher Certification as well as K-12 Special Needs Teacher Certification and holds Endorsements for ASD and Reading. She has been working in the Educational Field since 2010 and has gained extensive experience working with children with special needs in group settings as well as 1:1 with great success and proven track record of her students progress and performance. She served as a Middle School Teacher at the PBSA (Florida) and was promoted to Educational Technology Specialist for the entire school Kindergarten through Middle School (at the time). She successfully introduced Educational Technology Tools strengthening the school’s competitive positioning in quality education, as well as Training and mentoring Teachers and Therapists (SLPs & OTs) on educational technology tools (operation, tools, problem solving, develop lesson plans, curriculum integration, students digital portfolios).
Nora joined KFS with great enthusiasm and aspiration to passionately impact children and families’ lives after meeting with the founder Vanessa Kahlon and being touched by her mission and passion to keep families happy and healthy. She worked as an Educational Consultant/Behavior Specialist with children in their own School settings to facilitate their educational environment to fit their needs and help the children succeed and progress. She also received her Yoga Teacher Training from YEAS YOGA program created by Vanessa to address the physical and self-regulation needs of children with special needs.
She gets her inspiration and strength from her students on daily basis and believes in the power of their strength and capabilities. “Only children believe they can do anything” she always says. Her teaching approach and strategy success is based on valuing relationships with the families and working closely together to achieve their goals for their children.
Nora runs away to her lovely dog Miles and enjoys quality time with family cooking, taking long walks and hikes, traveling the world, breathing and feeling alive.
Shalom L. Kimble, B.A.
Shalom received her bachelors degrees at San Francisco State University in Psychology and Criminal Justice in 2002. She has 20 years of experience working with youth ages 3-18. Her past experience includes running after school programs for more than 100 youth and supervising staff. Shalom also coaches both soccer and Basketball, specializing in soccer goal keepers.
Sara Love, B.A.
KFS School Music & Enrichment Teacher
Sara is a Los Angeles-born and Chico-grown educator, who completed her Bachelor’s degree in music at California State University, Chico. She has an extensive background in music, with over a decade of experience as a performer and teacher. In addition to her musical qualifications, she has also gained experience in the behavioral health field as a personal mentor and caregiver, to supplement her courses that she completed in the health and wellness field. She also possesses a more technical background in the field of physiological sciences, having completed two year’s worth of courses in anatomy and physiology.
At Kahlon Family Services, Sara provides shadowing in the San Francisco area for children with a wide range of behavioral qualities. She has also joined the newly opened KFS School in San Francisco, offering her experience to the school as a teacher, while specializing in music. Sara is currently being trained in YEAS yoga (Yoga Education for Autism Spectrum; Vanessa Kahlon).
Sara’s interests include surfing, jewelry crafting, running, swimming, biking, tea drinking, spear fishing, sailing, camping, hiking and traveling.
Jacob Zaragoza, B.A.
Originally from Santa Maria, CA, Jacob attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where he received his Bachelor’s degree in the field Psychology. Now an Oakland resident, he has gained experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum in the scope of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Jacob has worked with children ranging in age from 3 to 12 years old in many facets to better grasp or learn social, language, and self-help skills with the ideal goal being the child’s personal autonomy.
Jacob enjoys eating pizza and sushi, going wine tasting, bingeing TV shows, and sleeping in as late as possible. He is in the midst of working toward his Master’s degree in General Psychology.
Bree Gutierrez, B.A.
Brie graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Mathematics in 2013. She has been working and volunteering with kids in one capacity or another for over 10 years. After completing her BA she pursued her dreams of traveling by working in Thailand as a high school English teacher and in Australia as an au pair. She has also volunteered with the Special Olympics and Girls Inc. Brie is a certified YEAS Yoga teacher and enjoys practicing yoga in her free time. In the future, she hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in Speech Language Pathology, focusing on pediatric SLP.
Brie’s interests include hiking, reading, baking, cooking, traveling, practicing yoga and Pilates, crafting, spending time with family, and learning new things.
Miles is a happy 4 and half year old Golden Retriever Therapy Dog. His mission in life is to give and receive love. He enjoys being surrounded by children and has way too much fun with people. All our students are his best friends already. With his high obedience and natural tendency to comfort people he spreads happiness and joy with lots of wagging his happy tail in the community! Miles loves hiking, swimming at the beach and walking in the rain. A few years ago Miles helped his owner recover from a serious accident by his very calm demeanor and loving soul. Miles defines how an animal can give so much love and be a best friend. Love heals everything and more.