We are dedicated to empowering our Bay Area youth & families


Vanessa Tearnan and Darcy Palmer manage MRD NorCal’s services including donations, fundraising and outreach, while also providing direct services to individuals and families. 

Darcy and Vanessa initially met in a dance class, where they bonded over their love for salsa. Soon thereafter, they discovered they both work in the mental health field, serving children and families, and share the belief that in order to live a fulfilling life, communities need more than just their basic needs met. Darcy and Vanessa’s vision is to provide and connect all communities in the Bay Area to the services they need- regardless of socioeconomic status- to empower and better enable them to not only survive, but thrive.

Vanessa Tearnan, Executive Director

She has over 10 years of experience in research and clinical work with Bay Area communities, pre-dominantly low-income individuals and families. She has been part of a research team at the University of California San Francisco in the Center for Health and Community since 2010, helping conduct assessments and collect data for a study investigating the impact of stress and eating on children’s early development. In addition, she has experience providing psychotherapy to, and facilitating groups with low-income mothers, children, and families from diverse backgrounds. Currently, Vanessa provides school-based psychotherapy and facilitates groups as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#103346) at Bret Harte Elementary in the Bay View.

Vanessa has a MA in Counseling, with a specialization in Somatic Psychology, from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her training in Somatic Psychology has allowed her a framework to utilize in working with various Bay Area communities. She is passionate about bringing body awareness and unique skills to populations who would otherwise not be exposed to them or be able to access or afford them.

Darcy Palmer, Associate Director

Darcy Palmer has over 15 years experience supporting youth and families, but her exploration into social inequality started with service work through her church and school. These trips, both in and out of the country, not only sparked her interest to travel but also motivated her own pursuits to research and dismantle global social inequalities by way of her education, career, and life-long passion.

Darcy is committed to educational advancement efforts globally and hopes to continue being a resource and tool for change. Darcy has initiated social-emotional restorative programs for at-risk communities in schools, prisons, and privately in homes, in over 5 countries including, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, Spain, and the United States. This experience has given her insight into seeing educational inequality as one of the driving causes of global social and economic inequality. 

Darcy graduated with Honors from Bridgewater State University, earning a B.A. in Sociology- concentration in Social Justice & Global Studies and a minor in Spanish. Darcy now works as a Behavioral Specialist here in the Bay Area, that works with youth, families, and schools to create a comprehensive approach to managing behaviors that affect youth socially and academically. She takes pride in utilizing creative methods to teach and model appropriate social behaviors and conflict resolution techniques to aid youth in becoming emotionally stable, successful lifelong problem-solvers.