We are dedicated to supporting secure beginnings in all families with children 0-5 regardless of ability to pay, by nurturing the earliest relationships, where our deepest patterns are set.
We are dedicated to the nurture of children pre-birth to five, through inspiring partnerships and community resources that address pre and post-natal well being, infant/ toddler development, and parent education and support.
In partnership with parents, health professionals, educators and the community, we create opportunities to connect, to explore, and to engage directly in the development of healthy approaches to early childhood education.
What we offer:
- Infant, Toddler, Sibling and Parent Playgroups and Classes
- Counseling for Mothers, Fathers and Families
- Teen and Young Parent Program
- One on One Parent Consultations
- ParentCare Newborn Home Visit Program
- Breastfeeding Support CareLine
- Family and Community Gatherings
- Professional Infant/Toddler Caregiver Training
- Special Needs Support
The Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center is designed as a responsive environment where parents can be present with their babies or toddlers who initiate and extend their own self-mastered exploration and discovery through play.
Recognized and awarded as an Ojai Valley Living Treasure for her great contributions to our community, Nan was passionate about the wellbeing of young children and families within the Ojai Valley.
In the 1970’s Nan Tolbert drew a large percentage of pregnant women from Ventura County to Ojai Hospital with her expertise and progressive birthing techniques. She was part of a remarkable group, along with Dr. Robert Skankey, who practiced innovative and healthy birthing techniques that are more mainstream today.
Carol Castanon has been Executive Director of the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center since 2008. In addition to being a Parent Infant Coach, she is a mediator and holds a degree in Human Development. Carol has multiple certificates specific to child development and attachment. She has worked with schools and families for 40 years having begun her work with special needs and inner city youth. Carol currently has a private business consulting with both local schools and families on issues related to building successful relationships at home and in classrooms.
A note from Carol:
“I am honored to be part of this community, supporting the enduring and profound work of Nan Tolbert. Nan and I worked together for several years, sharing the love and challenges of young families. Our past director, Elizabeth Thasiah sustained Nan’s legacy and commitment to families pre-birth to three years of age. I thank them both for the foundation on which the Ojai Valley Birth Resource and Family Support at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center will continue to grow. My dream is for caregivers, parents, and children to have a second home to love, learn, play, support each other, and simply get good at being together.”
Marsha McKeon, Ph.D.
Marsha McKeon, Ph.D. directs the doctoral internship program at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a special interest in early infant attachment and its effects throughout the lifespan.
She has been training and supervising Ph.D. and MFT psychology students since 1997 in her capacities as Clinical Director at Jewish Family Services, adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute and Clinical Supervisor in private practice. She is currently supervising the Ph.D. interns at Nan Tolbert and leading the Attachment Seminar for staff and interns.
Dr. McKeon also has an active private practice in Ventura, California where she sees adults and couples for psychotherapy.
Renee Mandala, M.A.
ParentCare Program Director
Renee Mandala, M.A., is Director of NTNC’s ParentCare Home Visit Program, which she helped develop in 2012. She also provides Marketing & Outreach for the Center. Since 1998, when she became a Certified Birth Doula, Renee has been working with new and expectant families. Much of her work was in private practice as a Certified Postpartum Doula, Lactation Counselor/Educator, and through her business, Mothers Guild, where she provided lactation education and support via groups and private consultation for many Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeleno families. At NTNC, Renee has been a facilitator of the breastfeeding helpline, breastfeeding support group, pre-natal breastfeeding class, newborn/ infant and caregiver groups, and co-founded the peri-natal wellness group. Having been a colleague of Nan Tolbert, she helped found the Center in 2007. Renee believes Nan would be happy to see the rich programming, the skilled and compassionate staff, and the wonderful families – all of us learning about family – at the Center in Nan’s name.
Programs Director and Core Class Facilitator
Terra Lepine began facilitating classes at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center after graduating with a BA in Psychology from the University of California Santa Cruz. Since joining the Nurturing Center she has become a certified postpartum doula providing, through her private business, in-home support to help families make the transition to life with a new baby. Terra completed a parent-infant coach certificate program in 2014. She continues to learn and grow along with the families at the Nurturing Center.
Teva Johnstone, MSW, CLEC
Outreach Coordinator and Core Class Facilitator
Teva began her work at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center after participating in classes with her young daughter. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Black Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Azusa Pacific University. Teva completed certificate training in lactation education and counseling through the University of California San Diego.
As a passionate advocate for family wellness, Teva represents the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center in the Maternal Mental Health Coalition of Ventura County and is pursuing a certificate in maternal mental health from Postpartum Support International. She is interested in promoting health equity in historically underserved populations by providing breastfeeding support and education on the parent and infant attachment relationship.
Through Teva’s private business she serves families as a postpartum doula. She lives in Ventura with her husband and toddler.
Core Class Facilitator
Lilly Heilveil came to the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center from Portland, Oregon. In the years after college she found her home working with children and their parents. She was a toddler teacher at a child development center, where she was taught the RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) tradition. She has also worked in therapeutic classrooms with infants to pre-school aged children where there was a focus on understanding and healing trauma and attachment. Lilly moved back to her home town of Ojai to continue her early childhood education and pursue an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. She currently sees adults, couples and children at the Community Counseling and Education Center in Santa Barbara as a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee. She is in awe of the wonderful staff and families that make up the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center and thinks it is a truly special place to grow.
Core Class Facilitator/Parent Consultant
Siobhan McDevitt first came to NTNC with her husband, just after the birth of their second daughter in 2008. She attended infant-parent groups, then toddler-parent groups, and supported the NTNC Board through fundraising and event planning. Her appreciation for NTNC, curiosity about child development, and interest in supporting new families eventually brought her to co-facilitate NTNC classes for newborns, infants, toddlers and their caregivers. In 2011, Siobhan and Renee Mandala co-founded a perinatal wellness group at NTNC to support parents through the emotional transitions of welcoming a new baby into the family. She has also taught in the Early Childhood Program at Oak Grove School and currently sees individuals and couples as a Marriage and Family Therapy intern at Community Counseling and Education Center in Santa Barbara where she recently completed Parent-Infant Coach Certification.
Bronwyn Talbot, LMFT, ®RCST, IDME, IFECMH, RPF-II
Core Class Facilitator
Bronwyn is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Infant Developmental Movement Educator and Registered Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist specializing in parent-infant relationships, child development and women’s health. Additionally, Bronwyn is endorsed by the CA Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health specialist (IFECMH) and a Reflective Practice Facilitator II (RPF II). With an interdisciplinary approach, utilizing psychodynamic, trauma focused, developmental, and somatic practices, Bronwyn has worked in community mental health, adoption and foster care for over fourteen years supporting health and resilience in family relationships. In order to more directly address the body-mind connection and the lifelong significance of early relationships in shaping the people we become, Bronwyn now primarily features movement and light touch therapies in her work. Currently, Bronwyn has a biodynamic craniosacral therapy practice and offers infant developmental movement education in Ojai, CA where she works with all ages from birth through adulthood to support optimal health and development <www.sowithin.us>. Bronwyn also offers a monthly by-donation craniosacral therapy and infant developmental movement education clinic for parents and infants at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center.
Annette Mendoza-McCoy, LMFT
Core Class Facilitator
Annette Mendoza-McCoy is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with a background in Early Childhood Development and Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health. She has been serving children and families since 1999 in a wide range of settings in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Monterey, CA. She enjoys the focus of exploration, play, development, early relationships and attachments, and parent support. Annette is currently applying for her endorsement as an Infant- Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist.
Annette also has a private practice in Ojai, California serving pre-school, school aged, and teenage children with their families. Her specialty is helping clients work through hard adjustments and transitions, build healthier connections, cope with trauma, adoption/ foster care, and loss.
Darcy Wronkiewicz, CD(DONA) (Certified Doula), CLEC (Certified Lactation Educator & Counselor)
Lactation Specialist/Core Class Facilitator
Darcy Wronkiewicz has been serving families in the Ventura and Santa Barbara areas since 2009, providing breastfeeding support and education as well as birth doula services. Darcy’s foundational belief in her work is that loving support makes a significant difference in how competently and confidently parents of newborn babies approach their new role.
Today Darcy continues her education through workshops, reading excellent books on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and related topics, and exchanging ideas with other birth and breastfeeding professionals. However, her most profound learning has come from the families she has served and the many mothers who have shared their birth and breastfeeding experiences with her.
Darcy lives in Ventura with her husband and three young children.
Eileen Van Koppen, PsyD, MFT
Eileen Van Koppen, PsyD, MFT, is in private practice in Santa Barbara. She has a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and a doctorate from the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. She continues to be a student of human relationships and how bonds are formed and is excited to be a part of NTNC.
Amy Therrien, MFT Intern (Marriage and Family Therapy License)
Amy earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Southern Maine. Upon graduation, she worked as a Violence Prevention Educator in schools and community organizations for six years. Also, serving on the steering committee for the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence for two years, Amy worked statewide on Domestic Violence Prevention. On a personal mission to fulfill a dream, next, Amy began to pursue her love of singing, songwriting and yoga. For the past ten years, she has been combining yoga and music to lead workshops, classes and private sessions for personal growth and development. Now, Amy is completing an MA in Integral Counseling Psychology at CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies) and is honored to work with families at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center as an Intern. Amy is excited for the opportunity to provide emotional care to those navigating the complexities of parenting and family.
Andrea Haftner, MFT Intern
Andrea received her undergraduate education at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. With an extensive background in both education and the arts, Andrea began studies in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2009, graduating with a Masters in Counseling Psychology in 2014. In 2013 she began volunteering at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center, participating in regular seminars on early childhood development and attachment as well as serving as a home visit volunteer in the ParentCare program. Andrea continues her involvement with the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center this year as a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern under the supervision of Dr. Marsha McKeon, providing psychotherapy as a part of the emotional care team as well as serving as a Supervisor for the volunteers in the ParentCare new baby home visit program. She deeply believes in the importance of supporting young families as they navigate the joys, challenges, and changes that early childhood brings.
Communications Director and Core Class Facilitator
Rebecca received her Bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas in Economics and Urban Studies. After working as a city planner in both Santa Paula and Encinitas, Rebecca and her husband moved back to Ojai while she was pregnant with their first child to be closer to family. Rebecca began attending classes at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center when her first child was three months old. Five years and three children later, Rebecca is delighted to join a team that has given so much to her young family.
Finance and Development Director
Shannon has a Bachelor’s degree from UCSB and over seven years of experience in banking and finance and five years of experience in business development including for-profit and non-profit management. Shannon has served as a board member for the center since 2009 and is delighted to take a more active role in sustaining and expanding NTNC’s mission and vision.