Rays of Funshine

Founders

Dana Umbarger, M.A.
Executive Director

Dana UmbargerDana Umbarger has worked with children with special needs for over 10 years. She received her training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Discrete Trial Training (DTT) from a private agency in Orange County where she worked her way up to a Senior Therapist. After a few years at that company she moved to a supervisory level management position (Autism Specialist/Program Manager) working for a school district in Orange County. She remained at that job for 5 years and thoroughly enjoyed all of the families she worked with (many of whom now attend Rays of Funshine!). In 2011 Dana and Lella made the decision to break out on their own and fill what they saw as a void in the special needs community. Rays of Funshine has helped children at all levels of functioning to develop more appropriate social, play, and language skills while in a small group setting.

Dana received her Psychology and Social Behavior undergraduate degree at University of California, Irvine. After taking one year off to work in the field full time, Dana pursued her Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She graduated with honors from Pepperdine in 2006. Dana truly has a heart and passion for children with special needs, particularly autism. She has dedicated her life to helping these precious children and their families.

When Dana is not working she spends time with her husband Jason and their baby (doggy), Gizmo. You may even see Gizmo the Service Dog at Rays of Funshine helping out!

Lella Wardeh, M.A.
Executive Director

Lella WardehLella Wardeh has also worked with children with special needs for over 10 years, specializing in children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She, too, received her training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Discrete Trial Training (DTT) from a private agency in Orange County where she began as a therapist and worked her way up to a Case Consultant position. After her years at that agency she moved to a supervisory level management position (Autism Specialist/Program Manager) at a school district in Orange County. Her career then led her to a position as a Behavior Consultant at a school district in Oregon. Later, an opportunity led her back to Orange County where she took a position as a Program Coordinator at another private agency.

In 2011, Lella and Dana decided that they would do their part to contribute even more to the special needs community and open a center where they could focus on social skill development using ABA strategies. Rays of Funshine has helped children of all ages develop more appropriate social, play, and language skills as well as provided support for neurotypical children.

Lella received a Bachelor's degree in Cognitive Psychology from the University of California, Irvine in 2003. After taking one year off to gain more experience in this field, Lella pursued her Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University, graduating with honors in 2006.

Lella has a heart for children and wishes to continue working with children with special needs. She also maintains a strong belief that every child can make progress. She, along with the rest of the Funshine staff, truly desires to help these children as well as their families and support systems in the battle against Autism and other pervasive developmental disorders.

When Lella is not working, she spends time with her amazingly supportive friends and family as well as with her dog Coco...Gizmo’s best friend!