The Friendship Club Staff

Jennifer Singer, Executive Director, CFRE

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 has a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential and is a graduate of the Nevada County Leadership Institute. Email:

Dena Valin Malakian, Associate Director

Dena Malakian has worked with nonprofits serving at-risk youth since 2000. 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 holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Anthropology, a Master’s degree in Social Ecology, and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, where she focused her research on mentoring. She has extensive experience in inter-agency collaboration, program development and evaluation, and is focuses on these areas in her work with The Friendship Club. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for NEO, and is a commissioner on the Nevada County Adult and Family Services Commission. Email:

Denise Tambasco, Program Director

Denise Tambasco develops and implements our after school and summer programs and conducts the recruitment of new girls into the program. A native of Nevada County and a graduate of Nevada Union High School, Denise has worked for The Friendship Club since January 2007. Denise holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, with a minor in English Literature, a Master’s degree in Education, a Teaching Credential in Science and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Prior to working for The Friendship Club, Denise completed her student teaching at Lyman Gilmore Middle School, where she taught 7th grade science and math.  Outside of the Friendship Club, Denise enjoys cooking, traveling, taking photographs, and singing with a local choir. Email:

Cindy HintzCindy Hintz, Community Engagement Manager

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:

IMG_0019Tiffany Scudero, Fund Development Assistant

Tiffany Scudero graduated from Nevada Union High School and The Friendship Club in 2011. She went on to get an Associate’s Degree in Communication Studies at Sierra College and plans to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. While in college she worked at different school districts with children of all ages and has since found she has a passion for helping youth in need. She is so happy to be back in Nevada County with her husband expecting their second son, finishing their dream home, and pursuing her career with The Friendship Club. To view Tiffany’s moving TED Talk about her story and why The Friendship Club was a critical part of her ability to overcome adversity and thrive, click here. Email:

IMG_0014Lexee Smith, Youth Development Assistant

Lexee Smith is a Nevada County native and a graduate of Forest Charter High School. After graduating at Forest Charter, Lexee earned her Associate of Science degree in Psychology from Sierra College and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Chico State University. She is currently working on getting her Teaching Credential in Science in preparation for becoming a High School Science and Biology teacher. Outside of school and work, Lexee’s interests include barrel racing, roping, snowboarding, and creating special effects movie makeup. Email:

Chelsy Warmerdam, Youth Development Assistant

Chelsy Warmerdam has been an alumnus of The Friendship Club since 2010 when she graduated high school. She has since graduated from Chico State University with a minor in Child Development, a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Chelsy’s passion is teaching elementary school students and hopes to one day teach in Nevada County. Chelsy is delighted to have the opportunity to come back and work at The Friendship Club. She understands what it is like to be a girl in The Friendship Club, and is hoping to help the girls through their adolescent years. Chelsy will be one of the leaders for the after school meetings. When not at The Friendship Club, Chelsy likes to travel, read, go horseback riding, ride her jet skis, and be with her friends and family. Email:

Evan Nielsen, Youth Development Assistant

Coming soon!


IMG_0026Narissa Cranberry, Meal Program Coordinator

Narissa Cranberry is a Nevada County native and joined our team first as an intern, which was such a wonderful experience all around that we decided to hire her as an employee. With her background in restaurants, she provides excellent oversight of our extensive meal program, which includes planning nutritious meals for girls every time they are with us, coordinating volunteers that help prep and cook meals, and maintaining our Friendship Club garden.  Email:

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. Email: