Promotional Spotlight: Celina Torres

February 28, 2023

Celina Torres- Intensive Services Outpatient Therapist


For March’s promotional employee spotlight, please meet Celina Torres, Intensive Services Outpatient Therapist, working at our North Hills Clinic.

Celina’s career at Penny Lane started in June of 2018 as a part time Child Activity Coordinator for the RHAS Program in North Hollywood before transferring to full time Child Family Specialist in North Hills Clinic in February 2019. She transferred again in September 2021, to an Intensive Services Facilitator. Prior to her current role, she transferred in January 2023 into a role as Therapist in Training Intern for the North Hills Clinic. Upon earning her degree and obtaining her California state licensure as an Associate Clinical Social Worker, she has since been promoted to her current position as an Intensive Services Therapist effective February 1, 2023. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Cal State Northridge, and a master’s degree in Social Work from University of Southern California.

Congratulations Celina on your accomplishments!

What was your journey prior to coming to Penny Lane (PLC)?

Prior to joining the Penny Lane Centers team, I was volunteering with different agencies in my community working with troubled youth and low-income families. During this time, I was attending California State University Northridge (CSUN) as a first-generation college student. I was also working a full-time job at a local grocery store as I attended school.

What brought you to PLC?

During my last year as an undergraduate student, I was required to complete an internship, and this is how I came to learn about Penny Lane Centers. CSUN held an agency presentation /recruitment event for students and during this event I was able to learn about the different programs and opportunities that Penny Lane offers. I was very impressed by the work that Penny Lane Centers does and all the serviced it offers. This influenced my decision about where I wanted to complete my internship, and on August of 2017 I started my undergraduate internship in the RHAS/FFA program.

What is your favorite aspect of working at PLC?

My Favorite aspect about working at PLC is the sense of community and belonging that the agency provides for all employees and clients. PLC has a unique work culture that allows for a welcoming and positive environment.  

What was the path to promotion like for you?

The path to promotion was easy and fast. After completing my undergraduate internship and graduating from CSUN I was hired at PLC and while it was only a part time position, within six months of being in that positing I was able to apply and obtain a full-time position. Since then, I have had several different positions which have provided me with knowledge and experience towards my most recent promotion.

How did the PLC team help along the way?

The PLC team has always been very supportive and encouraging every step of the way. The team has been very motivating and helpful with every new role I have acquired here at Penny Lane. Most recently the PLC team created new opportunities within the agency that benefited my career plans and opened new opportunities in the agency.

What were some benefits that PLC offers that you took advantage of to further your education / career with PLC?

Just recently while completing my MSW at USC, I was able to complete my internship hours through the internship program here at Penny Lane while also continuing to stay on as a full-time employee. I also hope to eventually take advantage of the loan forgiveness program.

What is your job and what makes you good at it?

Currently I am an intensive services therapist. I would say that the main thing that makes me good at my job is my ability to connect and engage with clients. I also believe that my positive collaboration with others has helped me with being a good asset to the teams that I currently work with.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

That I literally cry in almost every single movie I watch. It doesn’t matter what kind of movie it is; I will almost always have some tears rolling down my cheeks.

What event in your life shaped you significantly?

Moving to the United States at the age of 10 shaped my life significantly. This life changing event exposed me to many new things that challenged me, but they also helped me with my individual growth and impacted my decision to seek a career in the social service field.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?

  • Never be afraid to ask a question, even if it seems like a dumb question, just ask.
  • Be kind to everyone, you never know what they are going through, your kindness can change their day.
  • You are the only one that can accomplish what you set your mind to

What do you appreciate most about Penny Lane?

The supportive team of supervisors and amazing colleagues that I work with, the opportunities PLC offers to everyone, and the warm and welcoming environment PLC has.

Please share something you are grateful for.  

I am grateful for the opportunities I have had throughout my time here at PLC. I am extremely grateful for the amazing people that motivated me to continue my education and shared their experiences with me, which influenced my decision to explore the clinical side of Social Work. Lastly, I am super grateful for all the support I had from my family, friends, and my colleagues these past 2 years while I was completing my MSW. Their encouraging words helped me get here and obtaining this new role.

-Celina Torres, Penny Lane Centers