David Mandani, BA, MSW, LCSW– Founder and Board President. David has over twenty years of direct practice and executive leadership in nonprofit settings, including board governance, program development and evaluation, and technical assistance/consulting (capacity building) for nonprofit start-ups and churches throughout the nation. He has served as a faculty member and community board member for the Graduate School of Social Work at Azusa Pacific University, a private Christian university located in southern California. He has also served as the Vice President of Programs at one of the largest privately funded rescue missions in the nation, where he developed a comprehensive mental health and case management model of care centered on collaboration with local 4-year universities. From 2003-2012, David was a commissioned pastor for a non-denominational church in Irvine, CA. He currently serves as the Pastor of Mental Health at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA and is a graduate student at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Licensed as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), David also has frontline experience working as a clinician, including several mental and behavioral health care facilities and in-patient psychiatric units. Diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 18, David offers a unique perspective as a person with lived experience, and he is fully committed to advocating, educating and sharing the comfort and hope that he has found in Jesus Christ.
David continues to share his story and serve as a consultant and trainer nationwide. His audiences have included county mental health workers and various healthcare personnel; students, staff and faculty at numerous schools and universities; first responders, law enforcement agencies, other nonprofit organizations; community members, cross-denominational clergy and church leaders/laypersons, missionaries and congregations at large. Training topics have included but are not limited to crisis intervention, best practices related to suicide prevention and intervention, substance abuse and treatment, introducing various models of care, how to navigate the mental health system, how to develop a mental health ministry or program, and individual case management practice.
Melissa Mandani, BA, MS, Counseling – Co-founder. Melissa’s entire career has been in education and spans more than twenty years including secondary and post-secondary, 2-year and 4-year college and university settings. Since 2001, she has provided career, academic and personal counseling to college students and she has taught in both public and private Christian schools/university settings. She has also served as a frontline college student affairs professional, as a manager, trainer and administrator. She has served on numerous college advisory boards and brings knowledge of curriculum development and online instructional design. Melissa has also studied and traveled extensively around the world and has a heart to serve communities that are under-resourced and lack access to care. She has a passion for global mental health outreach and education; child advocacy and related work of SFSG, as she has several family members who are living with psychological disabilities and she is a survivor of suicide loss.
John DePaola, BA, MA, Clinical Psychology. John is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and brings over twenty years of clinical and supervisory experience in higher education, community, church and nonprofit settings. He is the Founder and CEO of Family Matters, a private practice delivering counseling services in Orange County, CA. His experience in community mental health includes administering and evaluating an integrated mental health service delivery model. He has coordinated mental health outreach services with a team of chaplains, case managers, career coaches and other health professionals. As an advocate, John has worked extensively with homeless populations and teens suffering the effects of mental health challenges in the county welfare system. He has served as a Pastor providing direct oversight for church marriage and family enrichment and counseling ministries. Since 2012, he has also taught as an Adjunct Professor in the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology. John has seen the need for training in frontline settings and believes in the heart of this ministry. He joined the board of SFSG due to the love, passion and agreement of what it stands for.
John Eumurian, BS, Architecture, joined the non-profit world as a Grant Writer. His career accomplishments include leading a team and cultivating foundation relations, resulting in over 400 grants for a cumulative total of $10.75 million in grant funding over a period of ten years. He has served as a Manager of Resource Development where he oversaw daily operations including corporate relations, volunteer management, major gifts, and gifts in kind (donation of goods). In 2012, John formed Sierra Nevada Consulting, a grant-consulting firm for both local and international nonprofits. In this role, he provides training, research, foundation relationship management, building grant applications for submittal, funding compliance, and supporting the outcome reporting process. John’s personal commitment to SFSG comes from years of serving homeless populations in Orange County, CA both as a professional and as a volunteer. He has witnessed firsthand the impact that mental illness can have on individuals and families, as well as the crucial nature of services for this underserved population.
Donald Gordon, BA with a Biblical Studies minor, MBA, presently works at BIOLA University, a private top-tier faith-based university located in southern California. Donald has served in various frontline and administrative roles within higher education since 2003. His student affairs experience spans residence life, multiethnic programs, student ministries, admissions, academic advising and financial aid. He has provided extensive consulting across departments and co-chairs the regional South Coast Higher Education Council (SCHEC), which serves both 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities. Donald believes in the mission of SFSG as he has witnessed the tremendous need, particularly among college students, and he is an advocate for greater mental health awareness in churches, schools and communities at-large.
Marisol Parand, BA, MA, Psychology & Organizational Management – Marisol has over twenty years of experience in marketing, advertising, creative services and project development. She has successfully overseen direct mail, created and developed programs to meet financial needs, and managed both small and large events. She has served as a Director of Development for a multi million dollar nonprofit, where she has proven success in fundraising, major donor cultivation, and managing mature corporate relationships. She also has extensive experience with foundations, prospect research and records management. In addition, she has worked at length with children with special needs, specifically seeing first hand the unique challenges they face; she knows how families are impacted, and has witnessed the intense trauma and tension that it can create in relationships. She believes SFSG is a place for individuals and loved ones to reach out and find empathy and practical guidance (orientation, education, support, resources) to navigate the complexities of a world known very little by others. She believes SFSG provides a virtual place for a global community in desperate need of encouragement, and especially HOPE.