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Leadership

Donald J. Sebek, MEd
Executive Director

Don has been the Executive Director of the agency for almost 42 years, starting in that position in May of 1972. He received his Masters of Arts in Education (Guidance & Counseling) from Loyola University in Chicago in 1968. Prior to Bremen, he served as a Probation Officer at the Juvenile Court of Cook County for 2 years followed by 3 years as a Counselor in High School Dist. 228.
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In addition, he taught on a part time basis for several years as an associate college professor in the Lewis University Corrections program at Joliet State Prison. He also served as a member of the School Board for HS Dist. 228 for three years. He maintained an active caseload of clients for the first half of his tenure at the agency in addition to his supervisory duties, but, when Bremen shifted from being solely a Township organization to not-for-profit status in 1986, the administrative requirements involved dictated that his full attention be directed to that area. Don has always fostered the “Bremen Family” concept at the agency and is very proud of the accomplishments and successes that our kids have achieved with our help and support over the past four + decades. His goal is to insure that every child that walks through the door of Bremen finds a safe harbor where they can be helped to develop the skills and strength needed to overcome whatever difficulties they are facing and to be supported and encouraged to reach their full potential and ultimately contribute in a positive manner to their community.

Joy Rihani, MSW, MEd, LCSW, CADC
Clinical Director

Joy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.  Her education has always had social work as her main focus, beginning at Bradley University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Social Work.  Joy continued her education at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she earned a Master of Social Work with a concentration in schools.
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Shortly after graduation, she received a certification to provide social work services in a school (Type 73).  After six years of working Joy then went back to Olivet Nazarene University and received a Master of Arts in Education; as well as, receiving a certification to become an administrator in a school (Type 75).

Joy has been working at Bremen since 2004! Being that her concentration was in schools, she left Bremen full time to work in a local school district.  But because Bremen meant so much to her, she continued to work part-time as a social worker and as the summer program director.  When the opportunity to come back to Bremen full-time opened up, although a difficult decision, it was an easy one to make.   Bremen provides more than just mental health treatment to the children it serves.  Bremen provides a feeling of safety and love with a strong sense of family.  Joy has never witnessed an establishment that brings such a feeling of warmth and protection to our young people as does Bremen.  There is no doubt that no matter who walks in to this agency, if they have open arms, they will feel the strength of the “Bremen Family.”  For Joy, family is a priority, and in turn does not feel like she is going to work every day, but a second home and helping her family get through rough times.

Agency Staff

Nikita C. Brown, MA

Nikita is a Master’s Level Clinician in Counseling with a specialization in addiction.  Nikita received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in criminal justice from Lewis University in 2013.  After taking a year off from further education to contemplate her aspirations in both psychology and law, Nikita solidified her passion for psychology.  In July of 2017 Nikita graduated from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and received a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in the Treatment of Addiction Disorders.   Nikita is currently in the process of becoming a licensed professional counselor.

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Nikita’s journey at Bremen began as an intern in the fall of 2016.  During her yearlong internship with Bremen she realized just how passionate she was about not only psychology but children and families as well.  Nikita feels blessed to have been given the opportunity to continue her journey with Bremen as a full-time Prevention staff member.

The word why has been Nikita’s favorite from the moment it gracefully danced off her tongue.  Who, what, when, where and how all have a purpose, but it’s the why that fuels Nikita’s passions and ambitions; why do people do the things they do?  Nikita is devoted to working with those who get lost in the shadows; she aspires to unequivocally help others by empowering them to be the drivers of their healing process.

Jessica Contreras, MA, LPC, CADC

Jessica is a bilingual Licensed Professional Counselor who received her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2015. During her two years at The Chicago School, Jessica completed a concentration in Latino/a Mental Health and was a fellow with the Center for Latino/a Mental Health.  Jessica is passionate about working with the Latino/a community and works towards reducing the stigma associated within mental health services.

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Jessica’s experiences throughout her career have always focused on working with the youth population. Prior to receiving her masters, Jessica received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Loyola University in 2011. After college, she began working as a full-time Family Support Worker and Group Coordinator for Healthy Families of Illinois and Ounce of Prevention programs. Jessica’s focus at the time was to work with first-time adolescent parents who lived in low-income, high-risk neighborhoods. Jessica completed weekly home visits with families and promoted healthy lifestyles and positive parenting. She also ran bilingual parenting groups to help promote support and bonding among parents and their children.

Through her experiences with Bremen Youth Services, Jessica has grown in both her professional and personal life. Beginning her career as an intern at BYS, Jessica was able to gain the clinical experiences needed to continue working more in depth with children and adolescents individually and within groups. Upon her completion of internship, Jessica continued working as a bilingual counseling at BYS and also worked as a psychotherapist at Latino Youth High School in Chicago. After moving back to the south suburbs, Jessica began working full-time at BYS. She continues to stay involved in the community by being co-chair of the Emotional Wellness Committee for the Blue Island/Robbins Neighborhood Network and working as a conference coordinator for the biennial Latino/a Behavioral Health Conference.

Samantha Greenwald, MA, LCPC
Samantha received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 2013; Go Buckeyes! She went on to receive her Master’s in Clinical Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2015. Samantha is currently in the process of becoming a licensed counselor.
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Samantha started as an intern here at BYS in 2014, and enjoyed the experience so much that she pursued a position as full time staff. Samantha is currently the prevention coordinator and is working with local high schools to implement strategies to lower the incidence of underage drinking. In addition, Samantha holds a case load of client’s and runs several groups here at BYS including; create, connect, cope; expressive therapy for both middle school and high school adolescents; and the social skills group.
Samantha’s real passion is working with adolescents, transitioning into adulthood. She believes it is important to provide these individuals with tools that can be successfully used throughout their adulthood. Samantha looks forward to learning even more at BYS and getting as involved with the community as possible.

Juanita Jenkins, MSW, CADC
Juanita is a Social Worker and a licensed Child Welfare Specialist through the Department of Children & Family Services. She received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in social Work from Governors State University. After completing her internship at Bremen Youth Services in 2008, she was offered a position with the agency providing social services at BYS’s satellite office located in Robbins, Illinois, an extremely impoverished community.
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Since her employment at BYS, Juanita has implemented girls groups, social skills groups, an afterschool program, winter & summer camps, as well as children holiday events. Juanita also facilitates Youth Prevention Education Programs in the local school districts.

Juanita has a deep passion for working with children and older youth who are struggling with multi-issues that has impacted them in a negative way. Juanita’s favorite modes of therapies that she incorporates into her counseling sessions are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, and Motivational Therapy. Over the years Juanita has worked with children who have experienced poverty, abuse, bullying, gang life, foster care, neglect, and a host of other issues.
Bremen Youth Services has provided Juanita the unique opportunity to not only grow as a social service professional, but also exposed her to a wide range of clinical experiences and trainings enhancing her skills, talents, and abilities with working with children and their families. Bremen Youth Services has been a blessing in Juanita’s life, because it has allowed her to be a blessing to others.

John Kummerer, MSW, CADC
John was a successful business owner for over 20 years before choosing a new path in life. He always had a passion for helping others through difficult times, so he returned to college in the 1990’s to pursue an education and a new career in the helping professions.
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He earned his first degree at South Suburban College which was an Associate Degree in Human Services / Substance Abuse Treatment. In the late 1990s he served an internship for a year and a half at the South Suburban Council for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, which is an in-patient facility treating people with substance abuse disorders. During this time he also volunteered his time helping addicts and alcoholics at The Guildhaus in Blue Island, Illinois. The Guildhaus is a halfway house for alcoholics and drug addicts in early recovery.  Eventually the Guildhaus offered him a position as a substance abuse counselor where he worked for several years.

John continued his education at Governors State University where he earned a Master of Social Work degree. During this time John focused a lot of his education and research on the treatment of substance abuse disorders, anger management, and the treatment of anxiety disorders.

At present John is a counselor at Bremen Youth Services where he works with troubled young people and their families. He is a certified drug and alcohol counselor (CADC), and specializes in treating young people who are abusing substances. He also runs the S.T.E.P. (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) Group here at Bremen which helps parents learn new techniques to help them raise happier and more cooperative children. John is very proud to be part of the Bremen Family where he has learned to grow as a professional, as a person, and as a father. 

Lynnette M Wright, MS, LPC, NCC
Lynnette is a Licensed Professional Counselor who received her Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from National Louis University in 2016. For the past two years she has enjoyed working with children and families as well as adolescents struggling with addictions. Lynnette has completed multiple trainings over the past 4 years to enhance her skills in working with youth diagnosed with autism, ADD and ADHD.
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Lynnette received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders from Governors State University in 2010. After college, she worked for a local school district providing speech services for students with Individual Educational Plans (IEP) for 3 years before transitioning to providing Early Intervention services for children and families from ages birth to 3. During that time, Lynnette completed weekly home visits with families to promote healthy relationships between parents and children and connect families with community resources. It was during her time as an early interventionist that she became interested in counseling children and families.
During her Master’s degree Lynnette completed her internship at Bremen Youth Services where she successfully obtained over 700 clinical hours working with children, families and prevention work in the local school districts. After completing her Master’s degree, she was hired to conduct individual, family, and group counseling at the BYS. After a short time as a child and adolescent counsellor, Lynnette became the Prevention program coordinator for BYS’s substance abuse Prevention Services (SAPS). Lynnette is passionate about helping reduce the harm of alcohol and drugs in our communities.

Support Staff

Jackie Diaz
Office Manager

Jorge Fernald, M.D.
Psychiatric Consultant

Board of Directors

Chuck Quinn—President
Bobby Matz—Vice President
Chuck Wolf—Treasurer
Laura Brown—Secretary
David Bryant
Francie Edgeworth
Bruce Galassini
Cheryl Host
Ken Keeler
Sandy Kukla
Joseph Larmon
Lori Manning
Melissa Ragle

Advisory Board Members

Bessie Jordan
Honorable Michael Stuttley
Jeff Watanabe

©2013 Bremen Youth Services • 15350 S. Oak Park Ave. P.O. Box 627 • Oak Forest, Illinois 60452 • (708) 687.9200