A Promise to Serve – Mental Health Services


In 2018, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS) is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the theme “Promise.” One-hundred fifty years ago, Rev. Johann Buenger made a promise to help one young boy. Today, more than 46,000 children and families in Missouri receive services each year as our promise continues. To show our continued commitment to those we serve, we wanted to highlight a few people who make it possible for you to receive the support you need. Help us celebrate these shining examples of our mission brought to life.

Pete Sandoval, M. Ed., LPC, NCC

Therapist, Mental Health Services

Q: How long have you worked for LFCS?
A: I started as an intern here in 2014. This is a second career for me. I worked in technology for over 20 years and eventually became a consultant. I was always customer facing and loved teaching people how to use computers. I worked for LCMS for 11 years, teaching people how to use Windows and in the meantime got my bachelor’s degree in Communications. Once I finished my bachelors, I decided to get my masters in Counseling.

I came to LFCS for my internship because I had heard a lot of good things overall about the agency, and especially about the mental health department. It has exceeded my expectations. LFCS is a key player in the helping field of this community. We have gone through a lot of changes since I have been here, and I am hopeful and excited about the agency and where LFCS is going.

Q: What services do you provide to our clients?
A: I provide psychotherapy to children, teens and adults. Therapy provides coping and emotional regulations skills for children. As we get into the teenage years, it provides more emotional and social awareness as well as conceptualization of self. Teens are beginning to understand who they are and who they want to be. For adults, it’s more about the struggles in their lives and what they would like to do to improve their current situation.

Most people who come into my office, regardless of age, are struggling with some form of self-acceptance. For young children and teens, the world feels out of control and they start to internalize that in some way. For adults, it’s more that something traumatic or extremely difficult has happened and they are in a state of crisis.

I work with families and prefer that, whenever possible. The younger the child, the more important it is to work with the parents because they have a larger impact on that child than I do. They are key to their child’s wellbeing. The greater impact I can have on the family system, the greater potential for long term healing with the child.

Q: In what way do you feel like you are fulfilling a promise to those you serve?
A: When I am working with any of my clients who are kids, I am very much focused not just on the children, but the systems including their family and community. We want to create better relationships within that system. Whenever we are providing a child several different services at LFCS, we create a coordinated effort to make a difference. The more we are doing to help a child and a family, the more we are making a difference in our local community. However, I think the change that people are able to make is something that they do, I am just a facilitator or a catalyst of change.

Q: What is a typical day like for you at LFCS?
A: I am a contract therapist, so I do not have a typical day. My schedule is highly flexible. I can juggle things around to meet clients’ needs in a way that maybe a full time employee could not. Most of our child and teen clients have hour-long sessions with appointments between 3 and 7 PM.

Q: What is your favorite part of working at LFCS?
A: Everyone at LFCS is really dedicated to their work and wants to make a difference. That creates a wonderful culture within the organization. The people who work here want to help and do good things in the world. We are all here each and every day, doing what we do, to be a part of something bigger in this world.


Pete was recognized as LFCS Employee of the Year in 2017.