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Leadership

Donald J. Sebek, M.Ed.
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, M.Ed., 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

Samantha Greenwald, M.A.
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
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. 

Susan Ryan-Michalak, M.A., LCPC, NCC
Susan received her undergrad in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Special Education, from De Paul University in Chicago. From there, she taught as a cadre in Bridgeport for a year and a half, in various grades from Pre-K through Grade 8.  Following that, in 2001 she became a Cross – Categorical Special Education Teacher in First Grade.
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Since then, she has worked with children with behavioral, medical, academic, physical and emotional issues (Bipolar , ODD, ADHD, ADD,  Aspergers, Autism, PDD, Downs Syndrome) and other various syndromes.  She has been trained over the years to work with children with Autism and Behavior/Emotional Disorders using the TEACCH method.  In 2003, Susan started Graduate School at Governors State University, specializing in Marriage and Family Counseling.  She was trained to work with families, children, marriages, adolescents and adults along with behavioral and emotional disorders, and other related diagnoses.  Her clinical area of interest is working with children, adolescents, and families with anxiety, depression, ODD, ADHD, Bipolar, eating disorders, divorce, academic issues, special needs, trauma, phobias, self-esteem and anger.  Her undergrad has also allowed her to help families whose children have special needs.  In these cases she advocates and advises concerning their diagnoses and creating a plan for home and support.

Bremen is unique to her because it is like a home for children and staff.  She feels the workers are amazing and professional.  They are all here because they care; this is evident. Susan feels like it is a big family, including Hope the dog, who is lovable and makes children happier.  Children feel like it is a safe place to go and have great memories, becoming stronger and happier.  The summer camp and other programs and groups are remarkable. The atmosphere can make anyone feel relaxed.  Bremen will be in the hearts of children forever, along with the help and strength they received while getting better.  Bremen has made a lot of people smile and feel better.  

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