About R.I.S.K.-Sonoma

I started R.I.S.K. with one single goal-pull parents, professionals, care givers and grandparents together to start a conversation about what is confronting those of us who are raising kids. As parents of two children, my husband Tony and are committed to “paying it forward” after all of the support we received when we were confronting parenting issues with our teenager that changed our lives in only a few short weeks.

Through our efforts with R.I.S.K. we want to provide parents the support to know if what they are seeing is a phase or a problem, to know that there are many resources available to help them with whatever their child is dealing with, and to connect professionals, law enforcement, non-profits, educators and parents.

How R.I.S.K Started

In 2015 R.I.S..K.-Sonoma was started as an idea and today is a growing non-profit with a growing presence in the local community. We provide private confidential assistance to parents looking for support and also provide educational forums on topic for parents and the community. In March 2022, R.I.S.K.-Sonoma took the lead in creating a Mental Health forum for the Sonoma Valley community. The successful listening event included a group of 75 diverse community members.

Our Mission

Our goal is to be proactive in bringing issues to the forefront. Through education, panels of professionals, and open discussions, we work to help provide the knowledge and communication tools that allow parents, legal guardians and family members navigate the issues that are impacting all of our daily lives.

Meet Our Team

Leslie Nicholson



R.I.S.K. was founded by Leslie Nicholson when she and her husband, Tony, found themselves dealing with challenges in raising a young teenage boy. Things rapidly spiraled downward and trying to look for resources, work, raise a younger child, and cope with daily life became very stressful. The Nicholsons found help through close friends, but felt alone, isolated, and immense guilt about what their teen was going through. Leslie knew that they were not the only family experiencing these challenges and knew that there had to be a way to connect parents and get them support. Issues like substance abuse, bullying, suicide, mental health, and violence are making parenting more challenging and putting our children and teens at risk.

Dina Welch

Dina Welch


I was a mentor with Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance for 11 years. After my mentee graduated high school, I wanted to do something helping kids, but was not sure what direction to go. It was a few months later I saw Leslie Nicholson and she explained how she started her nonprofit, R.I.S.K. Sonoma. I have been the Treasurer of R.I.S.K. since 2016. I have been living and working in Sonoma for over 30 years, and raised two boys ages 38 and 27, who both attended Sonoma Valley schools. I am married to my husband Darrel and we own DW Construction. It’s great to know that I am a part of a non profit that cares about our children’s well being, their families and our community.

Maricarmen Reyes Larios

Maricarmen Reyes

Maricarmen Reyes Larios graduated from Sonoma Valley High School in 2000 and received her Bachelor’s degree in Chicano and Latino Studies from Sonoma State University. She is a big advocate of education, mental health and community engagement.

Jennifer Saldana

Jennifer Saldana is an alumni of Sonoma Valley high school. She furthered her education by attending SRJC and later transferred to Sonoma State, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in human development. Jennifer is a dedicated mother of three. She strongly believes that community plays a crucial role in supporting at-risk youth. Jennifer is particularly passionate about educating families on trauma, mental health, and education. She is committed to connecting families with the necessary resources and empowering them to make positive changes.

Our Partners

Sonoma Valley Community Health Center Logo

Our Sponsors