Next 5-Week Course Starts Saturday, February 19th, 2022 @ 10:00am
Debra Ann Afarian is Think:Kids CPS Certified using Collaborative Problem Solving®, since 2003. The approach is defined in the book “Changeable” by Stuart Ablon, PhD and "Treating Explosive Kids" by Stuart Ablon, PhD and Ross Greene, PhD. Debra Ann works independently and is under the monthly direction and supervision of Dr. Ablon, the director of the Think:Kids Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) https://thinkkids.org/
As the founder of the non-profit Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child (HBCC), she has made it her mission to make sure that adult/child power struggles are understood in a whole new way, to break the cycle of misunderstanding challenging, concerning and difficult-to-manage behaviors. Married since 1989, she is the parent of two adult children (2/1994 & 11/1995), the older of the two being twice exceptional (2e) & now a “formerly” challenging child.
In addition, having been a challenging child herself, Debra Ann has first-hand experience of how challenging behaviors are treated by most. She has developed a strength and hope to break that cycle of misunderstanding and mishandling challenging behaviors with a focus on helping people understand that challenging behaviors are a learning disability in key skill areas like frustration tolerance, flexibility and communication of needs/thoughts.
Debra Ann's lived life experiences give her unique insight into behaviorally challenging children. She shares her story in the hope that, if you are also misunderstood or have a misunderstood child, you will know you are not alone. Finding your community can be helpful and give you a sense of belonging to maximize your family’s potential to meet the demands of life, school and work.
A special message from Debra Ann:
“If sticker charts, rewards & punishments are not helping with low-frustration tolerance, flexibility, impulsivity, risk-taking behaviors and problem solving, you will want to explore this website more! Collaborative Problem Solving helps ALL children, especially those frequent-flyers who are put on time-outs, don’t respond well to consequences, have a hard time earning rewards, seem unaffected by punishments, are frequently sent out of class, get detentions, suspensions, expulsions, restrictions, restraints, seclusion, self-medicate or are at-risk for out-of-home placement.
Stop chasing compliance and start building skills!"
Learn how to Regulate & Relate to then Reason.
~Bruce Perry, PhD
DA enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, biking, the mountains, camping, the ocean, her dog Maia, continued learning, friends, family and faith.
Susan Peck comes to HBCC with over 30 years of corporate experience in Technology Program Management and Governance with specializations in Business Relationship Management and Organizational Change Management. She received her BA from UCLA and studied at Marymount California University and Regents University in London.
Susan has always had an affinity for public service and has served as a volunteer on several nonprofit boards. She served as the Director of Sponsorship for Advancing Women in Technology (AWT), and was awarded for Outstanding Contribution by the Governing Board in 2015 for growing foundation donations for student scholarships by over 500% during her tenure.
A natural change-maker, Susan co-founded the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion community at Pacific Life Insurance Company and served as Director of Events & Programs. This grass-roots pilot organization, Women @ Pacific Life (W@PL), drew in 1,000 participants during their launch on International Women's Day in 2019. The success of this program and associated services for employees over 3-years ushered in a cultural shift at the organization, resulting in the establishment and development of Pacific Life's first ever Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office in September 2020.
Susan is at her best when guiding teams to exceed goals through strategic planning and operational optimization with a focus on building partnerships and mutually beneficial outcomes. She has a keen interest in data analysis to anticipate program needs and improvement opportunities. Susan is a motivator, supporter, and an empathetic leader.
She has lived in the Finger Lakes region of New York, rural Ohio, Chicago Illinois, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Orange County California. Susan resides in Tustin, California where she enjoys frequent hikes with her dog Ruby. Susan loves to travel and explore other cultures with her family and friends.
Raffy Afarian is a Product Development Engineer with over 35 years experience at Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from California State University at Los Angeles. Thirteen years later he went back to school and earned his Masters In Business Administration degree from California State University at Fullerton. These qualifications, along with his passion for a better world for ALL children, have motivated Raffy to create HBCC along with his wife, Debra Ann, and support it with his time and efforts.
When they wrote the phrase “opposites attract,” they had Raffy and Debra Ann in mind! That is the very foundation of their marriage. Debra Ann comes from a military influenced, working class, 5th generation, Irish-American family. Raffy comes from a 1st generation Armenian immigrant family rich with Middle Eastern traditions where food fixes everything, every child must be multilingual and grows up to be a doctor, entrepreneur, lawyer or an engineer!
Having two boys, one in 1994 and another in 1995, were the home runs Raffy had always dreamed of. Providing for his family is the one and only goal of his life! When Raffy and Debra Ann realized that they needed to learn to live with and raise their twice exceptional (2e) child with challenging and concerning behaviors, they decided to dive in head first and learn all they could to make a life where BOTH their boys could maximize their potential.
The natural progression of the learning and raising process compelled them to put their heads together and come up with a plan to help others navigate the treacherous journeys that all families will experience in raising challenging children with concerning behaviors. Raffy then made a bold statement to Debra Ann saying, “You go make the difference and I will make the living!”
In 2009 the vision for helping other families began with the thought of helping themselves and meeting a few other families to share their experiences. Little did they know it would grow into what it is today! They have come to find out that there are over 12 million kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges in North America alone – many still being treated in ways that are inhumane and ineffective. A heartbreaking number of kids are losing their futures simply because their challenges are poorly understood. This view, especially of being poorly parented, motivated Raffy to do everything he could to support his wife in launching HBCC.
Raffy enjoys soccer, golf, football, hiking, biking, swimming, reading, family, friends, faith and cooking. He has not met a kitchen appliance that he does not like!
Coco is a speaker, parent educator, bilingual ADHD Coach, and the founder of Heart 4 Kids Coaching.
Most importantly, she is a mother to sons with ADHD and therefore passionate about making the road a little easier for other parents and kids with ADHD.
She is a certified ADHD Coach, a Certified CPS Provider, and a Professional member of CHADD. My unique approach helps families reduce conflict, increase cooperation and connection, and find success while living with ADHD.
For more than 20 years, Steve has served the greater Orange County area in four prominent roles.
In addition to those roles of service, Steve loves working with organizations that take an evidence-based approach to help families thrive without stress, shouting, or fancy reward systems.
Hence, he joined forces with HBCC because there is a parallel sense of passion for:
1) helping families thrive;
2) a commitment to evidence-based solutions that work!
Steve specializes in Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS), an evidence-based approach rooted and established in neuroscience. Research on the CPS approach shows improved parent/child relationships and develops positive skills in children when conventional behavior modification methods have not.
Even more, some of the best evidence from studies
and patient care data demonstrate that CPS produces
a significant reduction in symptoms of Oppositional
Defiance and parental anguish!
Steve is becoming certified in Collaborative Problem
Solving from Think:Kids based at Massachusetts
General Hospital in Boston, MA. Nowadays, he is laser
focused on helping HBCC remain purpose-driven and
conducting CPS training for parents and professionals
at mental health organizations and schools.
When it’s time to play, Steve enjoys surfing and
mountain biking with friends and exploring life in
Southern California. He lives in South Orange County
with his wife and two sons.
John Manion is HBCC’s first Advisory Board Member and we are thrilled that he has decided to join our executive team!
John is an Executive Vice President at NAI Capital, and also the Founder and President of The OC Owner User Group. He provides comprehensive commercial real estate services to entrepreneurs that own the buildings they occupy, and to independent investors that hold commercial investment properties.
John’s talents were critical to HBCC’s acquisition of the Heart 4 Kids Center building in historic Old Town Tustin. Donated to HBCC in 2016, the quaint building on tree-lined Main Street is what we now call home. Prior to assisting with the real estate transaction, John had forged a relationship with the Center’s service providers by receiving coaching to improve his son’s quality of life after his son was diagnosed with ADHD. John’s passion is to help HBCC further it’s mission and vision by fundraising for programs, required capital for maintaining operations and special projects.