The Friendship Club Staff
Jennifer Singer, Executive Director
Jennifer Singer helped co-found The Friendship Club in 1995. She served in several roles as The Friendship Club grew and became the Executive Director in 2004. Jennifer was raised in Nevada County and is a graduate of Nevada Union High School. Jennifer received a degree in Communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is working toward her master’s degree in non-profit administration from the University of San Francisco. Jennifer is a member of the marketing committee of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership of the Sierras and a graduate of the Nevada County Leadership Institute.
Dena Valin has over 13 years of experience in nonprofits working with at-risk youth. She is a Nevada County native and graduate of Nevada Union High School. She returned to the area in 2004 and became the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County, which she helped develop and grow over eight years to serve twice the number of children. Dena has her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, where she focused her research on school-based mentoring. She has extensive experience in inter-agency collaboration, program development and evaluation, and is excited to focus on these areas in her work with The Friendship Club. She is also a Big Sister mentor to her Little Brother of over eight years and serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership of the Sierras and on the Nevada County Adult and Family Services Commission.
Denise Tambasco, Middle School Program Director
Denise Tambasco runs our after school program for the middle school girls and conducts the recruitment of new girls into the program. Denise is a credentialed biology teacher who joined The Friendship Club in 2007, after completing her student teaching at Lyman Gilmore Middle School. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in English literature from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii. She received her Master of Education from National University in Cross Cultural Education with Specialization in Best Practices. Denise was raised in Nevada County and is a graduate of Nevada Union High School.
Kristin Aguilar is a Nevada City native with more than eight years experience teaching middle school and high school students. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English, and she has single subject teaching credentials in both English and Physical Education. Her experience includes teaching English, P.E., college preparation for seniors, and study skills support classes. She has multiple group fitness and personal training certifications, and she is passionate about exercise and nutrition.
Cindy Hintz was born & raised in California. She holds degrees in both English and Commercial Interior Design. Upon graduation, Cindy began her career as a design coordinator, growing into a full-fledged project manager for over 15 years. She worked overseas in Singapore, leading the design team effort for a 220,000 sq. ft. headquarters building for a Silicon Valley Company. Cindy relocated to Nevada City from the bay area in 2007. She became involved as a volunteer in Soroptimist International Nevada City, and served on the board for four years. It was that service that ignited a passion for non-profit work, with a special focus on improving the lives of women and girls. Email: CindyH@friendshipclub.org
Jessica Reiter, Administrative Assistant
Jessica Reiter, Administrative Assistant, graduated from high school and The Friendship Club in 2005 and returned in late 2011. Jessica previously served the organization as Program Assistant before going to college, and now provides full administrative support for all the agency’s needs. We love having one of “our girls” on staff!
Mary Collier, Grants Coordinator
Mary Collier founded The Friendship Club in 1995. At the time, she was the coordinator of the Pupil Assistance Liaison Program (PAL) in the Nevada City School District. This program paired disadvantaged elementary students from single parent homes with students from the local high school for mentoring and friendship. The girls in the PAL Program, on the verge of entering the tumultuous years of adolescence, expressed a deep desire for more interaction with positive female role models. Mary designed a curriculum to specifically address the challenges facing young women from disadvantaged backgrounds and launched The Friendship Club as a year-round program in 1997. In 2004, she received Sierra Nevada Children’s Services award for service to Nevada County children. She retired as executive director of The Friendship Club in 2004 and now devotes her time to writing grants for the organization.