About Us - Key Transitions
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About Us


Truly custom-tailored recovery from behavioral, mental health, and substance abuse issues. Key Transition’s programs help individuals find purpose, cultivate community, and ignite their independence. Clients learn to embrace and internalize a healthy lifestyle and develop a fierce motivation to succeed while learning to embody recovery.


Living a life of meaning and direction not only curbs unhealthy behaviors, but gives individuals an ability to create new positive experiences. Key Mentoring uses proven custom tailored techniques which help clients nurture that ability, opening the window to new progressive experiences.


Supporting and interacting positively with other individuals who share a vested interest is one of the cornerstones of our program. Individuals who feel a sense of belonging lead happier and healthier lives, thus Key Mentoring designs environments which encourage interactivity.


Independence is fundamental for success, boosts confidence, reduces over-reliance on others, promotes happiness, increases sense of accomplishment and promotes better decision-making. It is the ultimate goal for all clients to achieve a better sense of independence.

Our Team



Evan Powell left the University of Colorado in 2010 after pursuing a degree in business and communications. While enrolled in college, he founded Full Sails Entertainment in 2008, a full-scale production and promotions company. Evan moved back to his home of Los Angeles to pursue a career in the music industry that led him to found Mobile Charging Lockers and Select Lockers, an internationally recognized corporation. After much success, he sold his business in 2015 and redirected his talents towards structuring Key Transitions with his dear friend Ryan Blivas. Evan currently serves as a member of the Musicares Young Ambassadors Program, a non-profit division of the Grammy Foundation. He is also on the host committee for Safe Place for Youth, a non-profit that provides basic services to homeless youth in Venice, California. Evan spends his free time either in the mountains snowboarding or the ocean surfing. His passion is to see that all Key Transitions clients find their true purpose for success.


Ryan Blivas grew up locally in Brentwood, CA. He was recruited to play division 1 tennis at UNLV where he majored in Hospitality Management. While attending college, Ryan developed a mentoring program for inner city youth living in Las Vegas that provided support with tutoring and college prep. After college, Ryan was accepted into the Ritz Carlton Management Training program in Los Angeles. Upon completion of the program, Ryan helped open the doors of a nationally recognized treatment center as the Director of Marketing. Ryan currently serves on the board of the United Jewish Federation’s Brentwood Country Club division. He is also Event Chair for Safe Place for Youth. In his free time, Ryan can be found rooting on the Kings, playing golf, surfing or running on the beach. An avid explorer of the city, he loves to try new restaurants and check out local music at neighborhood festivals. Ryan is certified in Trauma Response by Trauma Resource Institute and is a CADAC intern.

President, Key Mentoring

Dave Herz has spent over 20 years working with struggling teens and young adults.  Holding a Masters in Education and Masters in Psychotherapy, Dave began his career as a high school teacher, worked for a residential transition program and ultimately founded and ran a mentoring company for teens and young adults for 16 years.  Dave resides with his wife in Boulder, Colorado.

Key Mentoring Los Angeles


After graduating with a BA in Psychology at University of Redlands in 2016, Stella Cuomo moved back to Los Angeles and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at University of Southern California. She is passionate about helping youth and families succeed interpersonally and socially by assisting youth to become mindful of who they are in the environments in which they are present. Stella has experience working with individuals diagnosed with chemical dependency, anxiety and depression; this experience brought to light how connection and support can improve an individual’s overall quality of life. Stella provides an empathetic and compassionate space where youth can discover who they are, what they want to accomplish and problem solve with them in order to reach their goals. She believes that with positive encouragement, openness to new experiences and interpersonal growth, youth will be able to connect with themselves, their peers and their families. Stella’s ultimate goal is to obtain her PhD in Psychology, where she can become a leader in practice informed research.


After growing up in the East Bay Area, David relocated to Southern California to continue his education as well as live near the beautiful pacific coast. Around this time, David developed a profound love for surfing which only added to his deep gratitude for nature. Surfing, hiking, yoga, and playing guitar are just a few of the passions that David incorporates into his daily life. Recently, David made a solo one-way trip to Europe. Two months spent traveling around Central Europe included plenty of new acquaintances and experiences including one week teaching English to kids in Hungary. Utilizing patience, compassion, as well as personal, and employment experiences, David is now determined to complete his M.A. in School Psychology.


Nik Cherwink is the Industry Advisor for Icon Collective Music Production School in Los Angeles where he coaches artists how to succeed not only in business but in life. Growing up as an artist himself, he pushed music aside while he earned an Economics degree at UC San Diego and became an All-American rugby player. But after graduating in 2007 he followed his heart to Los Angeles and started his career at Capitol Records, eventually leaving to manage DJs and music producers. At Icon Collective he has created a unique position that combines his two biggest passions: music and personal development. Coming from humble beginnings on “the other side of the tracks”, Nik knows that with the right mindset, work ethic and guidance anything is possible.


Jason brings a diverse background of personal and professional experience, which guides him in helping others. He is truly gifted at supporting our clients to discover and implement a daily life of recovery from substance abuse issues. Jason fully believes in the power of an active lifestyle. When connecting with clients Jason can be found all over SoCal surfing, snowboarding, or skateboarding while discussing what it takes to be an accountable, successful and grateful human being. His clients feel the authenticity of his character while experiencing the worth of his words in real time. Jason’s commitment to community, service and others is understood by all those fortunate to know him.


Life Coaching and Parent Educator, Sarah Etman As a family communications specialist Sarah Etman has had extensive experience working with adults, adolescents, and children who are seeking to resolve various types of family and personal conflicts. Her expertise lies in her ability to help families and individuals come to terms with their problems and connect more effectively.

Sarah has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from California State University. She is an Egyptian-American who grew up in Southern California and moved to Cairo with her husband and children in 2011. Sarah has successfully coached families and individuals in the U.S and Egypt.

She continued her education while raising her 4 children.  Sarah is a certified Life Coach from the Institute of Orange County, California, ICF International Coaching Federation.  Compassionate Communication in California and London.  And is in the process of completely the 3 Principles: Mind, Consciousness, and Thought in London.

In Parenting, Sarah has coached families’ in-group and individual settings to assess needs, build coping strategies and advocated for improved use of community resources and family support. Teaching parents the definition of Empathy and practice. Understanding the importance of feelings and needs of both the child and the parent.

In Life Coaching, she assists clients in developing realistic goals and life plans. Motivating individuals to make positive, life altering changes.  Life Coaching with young adults.  Empowering teenagers with emotional intelligence and true self- expression.  Connecting to themselves and others: teachers, peers and parents.  Tracking the clients’ progress and maintenance.

Sarah works in both one-to-one and group sessions/workshops in schools and private office. Life Coaching is not therapy or counseling, it is the process of uncovering and discovery of your own personal path.  Her parenting is not a technique or giving advice.  Simply a mentality shift using communication tools and the use of emotional intelligence to better helps your journey as a parent.


Nicole grew up knowing she always wanted to give back. Growing up Los Angeles, Nicole played tennis and ultimately became captain of her team. She is currently studying Psychology at Cal Poly Sal Luis Obispo and has spent the summer of 2016 interning with Key Transitions. Nicole became such an incredible part of the team that it was mutually decided that she stay on in a part time capacity, managing social media, working on research projects, and providing her upbeat and positive spirit to the team. Nicole is fascinated by travel, politics, and psychology. She currently intends to pursue a masters degree in marriage and family therapy.


Growing up in the greater Los Angeles area her whole life, Sydney found a love for the beach, hiking and good food. Recently graduated from the University of Redlands with a BA in Psychology, she hopes to apply a more well-rounded view of the whole person in her future education endeavors in the medical field. She credits her love of medicine and healing to her involvement in collegiate sports and her personal experience with overcoming injuries. After returning home from a medical fellowship in South America, Sydney’s interest in medicine not only skyrocketed, but her appreciation for different cultures did as well. She is excited about assisting youth discover what drives them to conquer their own obstacles and expose them to new adventures.

Key Mentoring Colorado

Parent Coach

Curiosity, consideration and connection ​most ​inspire Kelly Sue ​in her service to others. She feels incredibly fortunate to dedicate her work life to the principles of acceptance, empowerment and examined action. With 15 years of experience, since earning her Master’s Degree from DU’s graduate school of Social Work, Kelly Sue has supported hundreds of individuals ​in​ their efforts ​to increase mindful awareness, build skills and move toward what matters most. Boulder, Colorado has been home for nearly 30 years; the natural beauty combined with enough great food and music keep her family (2 sons, 1 girldog and a husband) well fed, on all accounts.


JT Nolan works with individuals experiencing: anxiety, depression, men’s issues, relationship issues, parenting and performance anxiety. For the past 20 years it has been his passion and profession to teach, perform, compose, and record music ranging from classical to jazz to rock. One of the most pivotal points of JT’s life was being part of a Men’s group called The Man Kind Project, which helped him redefine myself as a father, partner, brother, friend, community member and as a man. Volunteering and service isa very important part of his life, from Special Olympics to Reading for Peace, and he has also had the privilege of being a counselor for the Boulder EXPAND program’s Outdoor Adventure Camp. JT received his Masters in Counseling from the University of Colorado at Denver and he has training in Non-Violent Communication and Relational Life Therapy.

Clinical Mentor

Born in California and raised in Colorado, I love both the energy of the city and tranquility of the mountains. I’m a people-person at heart, and even the most seemingly chance story never ceases to captivate and inspire me.

For this reason, I was drawn to pre-medical studies in my undergraduate education at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where I earned my B.A.

After living in Los Angeles for a few informative years, I proudly earned my Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Denver and my Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Denver Family Institute.

I’ve worked at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, and in various educational settings — providing me with a broad range of experience in the therapy and medical fields. I’ve also gained experience in the criminal justice system working with individuals transitioning from prison to parole, conducting both individual and group therapy sessions.

In my experience working with children, adolescents, and adults, I’ve recognized that my specialties surround helping people to discover their authentic passions and paths, as well as helping to facilitate genuine communication between couples and families. I also specialize in trauma work and counseling individuals, couples, and families who struggle with addiction.

I love working with those who want to grow, and it’s my privilege to help guide you through your journey of self-discovery and genuine development.


Sophie Bennett grew up in Boulder Colorado. She graduated from Regis University in Denver where she earned a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in Peace and Justice Studies. She has worked in a variety of mentoring positions; leading creative arts activities, coaching basketball and helping mediate classroom and social conflicts between students. In addition, she has worked with youth participating in urban farming initiatives in Denver.  Through these experiences, she saw how people  grow when supported by a community, which offers them meaningful activities to develop their talents and skills. She is currently working on her M.A. in counseling and is specializing in strength-based therapies.  Sophie is a painter and enjoys working with bold colors on large canvases.  She is particularly aware and sensitive to the challenges of growing up in the current culture dominated by technology, fast-everything and potentially isolating competition.  Her own recipe has always been to remember to add a large portion of courageous heart.


Bio coming soon.


After living in South Korea for the first six years of his life, Sam was adopted to a loving family from Boulder, Colorado. In his early twenties he went to work for a local mentoring program, it was there he developed a passion for helping young people. In addition to playing soccer, basketball, and other sports, Sam loves to spend his free time reading comics and hanging out with his two dogs, Doodles and Shelby

Key Housing

Partner & Program Director

Steve Shortall attended Pitzer College, where he played Division I Rugby.  After completing his undergraduate in 2011, he began working in the Behavioral Health field, managing operations at facilities offering the full continuum of care.  Steve has always been passionate about working with others and can often be found outside, camping, hiking and enjoying the Great Outdoors.

Family Therapist

Julia Hazard completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Antioch University Los Angeles. While completing her Masters in Clinical Psychology, Julia began her work as a therapist at Antioch University’s Counseling Center, a sliding scale clinic providing low fee individual, couples and family therapy to the community. Since completing graduate school, Julia has worked at several residential and outpatient treatment centers in the Los Angeles area while simultaneously maintaining a private practice in West Los Angeles. Julia specializes in working with adolescents and their families, and has found few things as beautiful or clinically effective as families healing and growing together.

Therapeutic House Mentor

Ryan’s life has always been guided by one core value: the desire to help people live authentically and whole-heartedly, free of the persistent “shoulds” that we didn’t choose to put on our personal to-do lists. He worked at Second Nature Wilderness Therapy for two years, led an adaptive sports social skills class for children with developmental disorders, and was a one-on-one, in home behavioral interventionist. He is currently two years into a doctoral program specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Resident Advisor

Max grew up all over this country. He attended FullSail University for film. He is currently enrolled at UCLA getting his masters in business. Right out of college Max worked on multiple big budget films as a producer and photographer but felt that this was not the right fit. From there he went on to teach Highschool film in south Florida and that’s where he developed a passion for mentoring young adults. While freelance photography paid the bills max spent most of his time holding board seats on multiple foundations and working with people infecected or affected with HIV/AIDS. When not working Max can be found exploring the food scene of Los Angeles, hiking, taking photos, or at the gym

Resident Advisor

Bio coming soon.

Resident Advisor

Bio coming soon.

Resident Advisor

Bio coming soon.

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