News & Press

Wolfe Center transition: youth substance abuse treatment in Napa to continue under another organization

Napa, Calif. – April 11, 2014 – After more than a decade of providing substance abuse services for youth, the Wolfe Center will close its doors on June 30th; services will reopen in the same location under another nonprofit. The local nonprofit serves approximately 2,000 youth and their families each year through drug and alcohol abuse prevention, intervention and treatment services at the agency’s First Street facility as well as in Napa County schools. Aldea Children & Family Services is partnering with the Wolfe Center to ensure continuation of youth substance abuse services following the Center’s closure.

 “Although this is a very difficult decision, it is also a great opportunity,” explains Sheila Daugherty, executive director and co-founder of the Wolfe Center. “I’m proud that we’ve been able to help Napa youth avoid and escape the devastating impact of substance abuse. But the board and I agree that Aldea, as the largest private mental health provider locally and also the finest, they can best deliver substance treatment alongside their strong mental health services in a manner to better help our youth.  Aldea also has the infrastructure necessary to best deliver these programs that are so desperately needed.” With support from the Peter A. and Vernice H. Gasser Foundation, and Napa Valley Vintners and Auction Napa Valley, the Wolfe Center will continue operations through June. Aldea, which specializes in a wide range of mental health, child welfare and support services, will begin to receive funding from Napa County Health and Human Services in July to integrate substance abuse services for youth.

The two nonprofits, which have worked closely since the Wolfe Center’s inception in 2004, see the partnership as a natural fit. “Because substance abuse and mental health issues can be closely linked, we serve many of the same clients,” explains Mark Bontrager, Aldea Executive Director. “The Wolfe Center has had a tremendous impact on kids and families in Napa. We appreciate their legacy and look forward to continuing to help prevent and treat substance abuse among our youth.”

Alfredo Pedroza, Aldea Board Member and Napa City Councilmember, echoes the accounts of both executive directors. “At the end of the day, we’re both committed to helping our youth get healthy so they can finish school, get jobs and become successful adults, which ultimately benefits the community for all of us.”

State Legislature honors Aldea Children & Family Services art therapy program

State Senator Lois Wolk and Assemblymember Mariko Yamada honored the Aldea Children & Family Services art therapy program earlier this month with a ceremony and reception at the State Capitol. Children who created the artwork featured in Aldea’s 2014 Children’s Art Therapy Calendar were introduced on the Senate and Assembly floors and were hosted for a calendar-signing reception with their families, the legislative hosts and other representatives.

Aldea, a local nonprofit provider of mental health and child welfare services, publishes its annual Children’s Art Therapy Calendar—now in its 15th year—to increase awareness of children’s mental health issues and raise funds for services.  Through the agency’s art therapy program, children from Solano and Napa counties use drawing, painting and sculpture to work through conflict and trauma with the guidance of trained Aldea therapists. “Ten percent of kids have a serious mental disorder,” explains Mark Bontrager, Aldea Executive Director. “Art therapy helps them to better express their emotions and also improves their self-image. Our calendar shows people how art can be vital to the healing process.”

See images of the reception here.

Aldea thanks bank, city councilmember for recent donation

Napa Valley RegisterAlfredo Pedroza, assistant vice president of Mechanics Bank in Napa, has selected Aldea Children & Family Services to receive a donation from Mechanics Bank. As a Napa City Council councilmember and a lifelong Napa resident, Alfredo continues to forge partnerships with local organizations, including Aldea, that serve people in need throughout our community.

In addition to directing financial resources to organizations, Alfredo donates his time by serving on several nonprofit boards and participating in community activities.

There are children, parents, and families who are grieving, facing mental illness and struggling with the devastating effects of substance abuse. When community leaders like Alfredo choose to direct resources to nonprofit service providers, it shows the rest of the community that we all can help make Napa County safer and healthier.

Whether someone donates $1 or $100, or volunteers one hour or 1,000 hours, it all matters. Seemingly small or simple acts can help children heal from abuse, parents acquire effective parenting techniques, and families strengthen their relationships.

On behalf of Aldea and the people of Napa, thank you, Mechanics Bank and Alfredo, for your commitment to improving the community for all of us.

Mark Bontrager is executive director of Aldea Children & Family Services.

Annual toy drive at Kelham Vineyards brings in 100 toys for Aldea children

Napa, Calif. – December 11, 2013 – Lauren and Ron Nicholsen and their friends and family collected more than 100 toys for Aldea’s child clients through the couple’s annual Christmas party and toy drive, held December 5th at Kelham Vineyards.

The donated toys will be distributed to disadvantaged and low-income children who receive mental health and treatment foster care services at Aldea Children & Family Services, a local nonprofit that serves more than 2,200 people annually.

“Although we love to spend time with our friends during the holidays, we also wanted give them an easy way to help families who are really struggling at Christmastime,” explained Lauren, a Realtor with Pacific Union International and a member of the Aldea Development Committee. Her husband, Ron, Kelham Vineyards proprietor and winemaker, agrees. “So many families in our community are working hard just to get by. As a dad, I know that an unexpected gift can make Christmas magical for kids.”

More than 80 people attended the invitation-only event, during which guests’ children were treated to holiday crafts and a visit from Santa Claus. Among the attendees were Solano County District Attorney Donald du Bain and his wife Lora, Shelley & David Sinegal of Sinegal Family Estate, Sarah and Kirk Venge of Venge Vineyards, and Groth Vineyards Winemaker Michael Weis and local Realtor Lisa Marsey.

“Our drive is not about the actual toys,” explained Lauren. “It is about giving some hurting families some relief, a chance for a carefree Christmas.”

Aldea thanks bank, city councilmember for recent donation

This Thanksgiving season, Aldea Children & Family Services expresses its thankfulness to Napa Valley CanDo, Leadership Napa Valley and other volunteers for “inspiring a community of givers” through the first-ever Napa Valley Give!Guide.

Aldea is grateful to be one of 40 nonprofits participating in this grassroots project that encourages young and first-time donors to give — whether they are able to donate $10 or $1,000.

Aldea helps people with mental health challenges and adults with developmental disabilities by providing them with mental health, foster care and adoption, and support services they would otherwise not receive.

How does a single donation make a difference? It can help send a foster child to a “forever home” with a duffle bag filled with essentials. It can help an adult with developmental disabilities get a brighter smile. It can help adolescent boys with behavioral difficulties learn to express themselves and begin to heal through art therapy projects. A single donation can truly help to improve someone’s life.

Aldea (which means “little village”) and the Napa Valley Give!Guide were both built on the idea that every resident plays an essential role in improving the community. Now, as the Give!Guide asks who you’ll give to, make a difference by donating at

Mark Bontrager
Executive Director / Aldea Children & Family Services

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