Born and raised in Sonoma County, Sami Ryan began working with youth the moment she wasn’t one. During college at Saint Mary’s College of California, Sami studied psychology and began working in crisis intervention shortly thereafter. As a Crisis Line Specialist on a National Suicide Hotline, Sami discovered the profound power that deeply listening can have. Starting as a volunteer, then as staff, working on the Hotline allowed Sami to practice what she was studying in school by honoring and holding witness to mental health in all its various forms.
After graduating Saint Mary’s with a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Dance, Sami continued to pursue work that met people during a crisis point in their lives in order to support them in discovering their innate capacity to find strength inside themselves. Sami has worked for Seneca as a Behavioral Coach and The Family Life Center as a Youth Counselor, working with adolescents, teens, and their families to learn new skills for positive changes.
Sami discovered outdoor education at a youth leadership adventure organization based in Sebastopol and began guiding backcountry trips with kids ages 8-18. Through this work, Sami found a passion for facilitating self-discovery and self-growth in remote wilderness settings. Sami continues to work part-time as an Outdoor Adventure Guide while also working with Community Matters. Sami works as both a trainer for Community Matters, as well as holding a staff position as Training and Program Coordinator. As a Trainer and Staff member for Community Matters, Sami is thrilled to be able to weave together her varied background working with youth to this organization. Sami feels incredibly aligned with this work and couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the ripple effect of change, hope, and community-wide healing.