Our Expert Staff

You can trust in our dedicated substance abuse counselors at our Lancaster facility to help you free your life from the addiction to drugs and alcohol. All of our addiction counselors in Lancaster have been exposed to the addiction world before working at Design for Change. Also, all of our certified Addiction Treatment Specialists have been through the recovery process. We believe that having had their own journey on the road to recovery, they can better understand and relate to the problems of alcoholism and addiction to any substance, from alcohol to heroin or crack rehab. We provide one counselor for every four patients, so contact us today to make an appointment.

In our relationships with our clients we have come to the realization that “no one cares how much we know…until they know how much we care!”

Medical Consultants

Medical Director: Lawrence D. Robinson, Jr. M.D., Outpatient Facility

Graduating with honors in 1968 from Howard University Medical School, Lawrence Robinson was the first African American accepted for an internship in Pediatrics at John Hopkins Hospital. After his residency in 1971, Dr. Robinson served in the US Army as a Major in the Medical Corp, where he developed a Sickle Cell Disease screening and education program.


In 1973, Dr. Robinson moved to California to begin an Allergy and Immunology Fellowship at Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center, where he remained until his retirement in 2006. He worked as a medical consultant for Design for Living Recovery Services for several years, and he became a medical consultant for the outpatient facility of Design for Change Recovery Services in 2012.

Physical Assistant: Lori Rodriguez

Lori Rodriguez has been in medicine since she was 15 years old when she started her medical journey as a candy striper at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, CA. A native of Manhattan Beach, she continued in medicine as a medical assistant for many years until she decided to become a physician assistant. She graduated with honors from San Joaquin College in Visalia in 2005, and has practiced in internal medicine ever since.


She also specializes in women’s health and urgent care medicine. She has her bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and her master’s degree in health care ethics. She has been married to her husband Peter, who is also a PA, for the past 8 years. They love to spend time with family and friends and enjoy going to the beach for relaxing weekends. Lori is well known in the Antelope Valley as a knowledgeable and compassionate clinician who cares deeply for her patients.

Therapist & Counselors

Program Director and CEO: Joseph Hunter, M.A

As a Master level Marriage Family Counselor, one of Joseph Hunter’s passions lies in guiding clients and their families to healthy solutions in dealing with issues related to substance abuse. With over two decades in own recovery experiences as well as working hundreds individuals and families who struggled with addictions, he dedicate himself to work with clients and to train staff daily.

His passion to learn new things and to devote his knowledges and experiences to the community has never unabated. He has been working on to be a psychodrama specialist for nearly a decade. Also he recently obtained certifications for positive psychology and EMDR therapy. Mr. Hunter travel cross the country to facilitate psychodrama base family workshops and 12-Step workshop.


Therapist: Jennifer Leavenworth, LMFT

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” — Anaïs Nin. Maybe you are a Highly Sensitive Person because you are an artist, an intuitive, an empath, or someone with esoteric spiritual practices. Or perhaps you were born into a family with issues of addiction, and you would like to live more from your vision for what is possible, rather than living out of fear of the past. Or maybe you would like to improve your experience of dating and intimate relationships.

Jessica Abiecunas CADC-II, ICADC, IS, SAP

Jessica is an internationally certified substance abuse counselor with an endorsement as an Interventionist and a qualification for the Department of Transportation’s SAP program. With 6 years in the profession, she has worked in admissions, as support, and in management positions, witnessing people grow in recovery and becoming the productive people they always wanted to be. Jessica has a passion for assisting people in their search for a better life through recovery. She applies this passion through her work, and serves the community by fostering children in need of care.


Jessica’s mid-western roots give her a deep love of family, nature and learning, she enjoys reading and adventures of all kinds. Her personal experiences and professional education give Jessica unique perspective to the recovery world. She lives her life by the quote “Attitudes are contagious, so make yours worth catching” Unknown Author

Counselor Intern : Gary Ellis

After graduating from the program, Gary decided to pursue his career in this field and help individuals who suffering from alcohol and drug addictions and related issues.

Gary loves to work with clients and guide each individual through their recovery process side-by-side at Design for Change.

With his hard working, he has acquired his knowledge and experiences of 12-Step and established as a well-known 12-Step facility in the community. He also started to have presentations  outside of local community.

Currently Gary is enrolled into Alcohol and Drug Studies and can’t wait to be a certified counselor soon.


Behavior Health Tech/LVN: Ashley Brown

Ashley is a Licensed Vocational Nurse, from the Alamogordo, New Mexico, now living inSouthern California. She attained her Practical Nursing training in the state of New Mexico prior to relocating to California. She spent several years assisting in the nursing field of long-term care, skilled nursing rehabilitation, and home health care. After years of aiding she came to the decision that she wanted to further her knowledge and attended school in the practical/vocational nursing field. In the midst of her training at a behavioral health facility, she realized that she wanted to pursue a career in the field.

Ashley’s prior work and life experience have given her insight in the field of assisting others overcome obstacles in their lives. Equipped with the knowledge and hands on experience. Ashley is well prepared and willing to guide and assist in the care of individuals trying to overcome addiction and substance abuse.

Holistic Program Instructors

Music Program: Robert Ormsby

Formerly a substance abuse Counselor and a Registered Addiction Specialist for L.A County’s Dept. of Public Health and other treatment centers, Bobby O. has worked in the addiction field for over two decades. He has also been a professional musician and music teacher for over forty years. His music career began when he studied at the California Institute for the Arts, School of Music.


Bobby O. has worked closely with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences MusiCares/Musicians Assistance Program, receiving and referring clients for recovery Services. Bobby O. directs the Music Therapy Program, and facilitates the Beginners Music Appreciation Workshop. All Programs provide an environment that teaches balance of mind, body, and spirit. Through the healing power of music and by nurturing each individual’s inherent spiritual creativity, Bobby O. helps clients in their recovery process. His programs focus on having creative fun while remaining alcohol and substance free.

Art Program: Sal Vasquez

Mr. Vasquez, after working 35 years as a graphic artist, retired and is now a full-time artist living in the high desert of California. Mr. Vasquez attended California State University, Los Angeles and the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Vasquez conducts Plein Aire classes during the summer months where he teaches the principals of good painting and the representation of space and light.


Mr. Vasquez strongly believes there are benefits from using the arts as a creative outlet in one’s life. He states, “If it helps to draw and paint one or two days a week, it’s therapy. ‘Art washes away the trials of every day life,’ Picasso said.” Mr. Vasquez has started a new chapter in his life, teaching art to recovery clients. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of art to these new students, some of whom have never taken art classes before. The positive responses he receives have enriched his life too.

Physical Program: Khalil

Khalil which means true friend, is the owner of Code Blue Fitness. Khalil became a certified Trainer in 1998. He is also a marathon runner, weight trainer and a Certified Nutritionist. He started work with our client since 2010. His deep knowledge and understanding of recovery process and fitness classes help clients to develop and maintain a new sober life-style effectively.


His nutrition classes are designed to teach clients not only healthy eating style, but also how to overcome craving and maintain recovery. Khalil enjoys helping people overcome their objectives and limits when it comes to weight and fitness. “Strengthening Bodies and Changing Lives” is his Motto.