• Welcome to the VFWC!

    WELCOME

    The Veteran Family Wellness Center (VFWC) provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for Veterans and their families, including parents, couples, and children.  

  • Happy Group of People

    WELCOME

    The Veteran Family Wellness Center (VFWC) provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for Veterans and their families, including parents, couples, and children.  

  • Joyful Group of Women

    WELCOME

    The Veteran Family Wellness Center (VFWC) provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for Veterans and their families, including parents, couples, and children.  

  • Joyful Couple

    WELCOME

    The Veteran Family Wellness Center (VFWC) provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for Veterans and their families, including parents, couples, and children.  

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Man and Wife caressing one another

OUR TEAM

Tess Banko
Tess Banko, MSW/MPA, CPSS, serves as the executive director of the VFWC. A Marine Corps Veteran, she has held leadership roles in the military, Veteran, and wider civilian communities for over 15 years. Her background includes social work and public administration, as well as mental health and wellness, community development, organizational leadership, and management. Tess is a strong supporter of collaborative, consensus-based initiatives and believes in accessible, preventive, strength-based approaches that span the continuum of Veteran and family-member needs.
Tom Babayan
Tom Babayan, MS, LMFT, serves as a Director of Veteran and Family Services for the VFWC. He has delivered prevention services to active-duty military families and Veterans for over 9 years. He currently acts as Model Supervisor for staff delivering the FOCUS suite of services at military installations in the United States and abroad. Mr. Babayan pioneered the teledelivery model, an innovative platform that uses video teleconferencing technology to deliver psychoeducation and training to Veterans and their families  
Melissa Lee
Melissa Lee, serves as the Family Resource Coordinator for the VFWC. She served as a ground supply officer in the USMC from 2000 to 2004. She was stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Camp Lejeune, and Camp Hansen, Okinawa. She did Veteran outreach for Habitat for Humanity in the San Fernando/Santa Clarita valleys, and since 2015 she has volunteered with and been a Boardmember for 22 Until None, a nonprofit dedicated to ending Veteran suicide. She is married to a former Marine Corps infantry officer and was stationed with him at Marine Corps bases Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms.
Staff Jimmy Guevara
Jimmy Guevara, MSW, is a Resilience Trainer at the UCLA/VA Veteran Family Wellness Center. He served in the United States Marine Corps for four and a half years. He has been stationed in Okinawa, Japan, Camp Lejeune, NC, and deployed to Iraq for all of 2005. He attended Los Angeles City College and worked in the Veteran Resource Center. Soon after he transferred to Cal State Northridge, earning degrees in both Psychology and Central American Studies, while serving outreach lead for the Veteran Resource Center on campus. He went on to earn a Masters of Social Work from the University of Southern California (USC), deciding to help his fellow veterans and making it his new mission to provide resilience training to the veteran community.
Staff Sarah Schaub
Sarah Schaub, M.A., APCC, serves as a Resilience Trainer at the UCLA/VA Veteran Family Wellness Center. as a Resilience Trainer at the UCLA/VA Veteran Family Wellness Center. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of California at Santa Cruz and her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Sarah is a strong supporter of diversity and inclusivity who is constantly striving not only to identify how each part of a system (familial or organizational) affects the whole, but also how each part can shift in order to facilitate desired change. Her current focus is to facilitate further resilience and posttraumatic growth with Veterans and their families.