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2023 MHAP Advocates

Jennifer De La Cruz is a Brooklyn College graduate who majored in Children and Youth Studies with a minor in Psychology. She was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the Bronx. Jenny started as an intern with Youth Advocacy Corps and is now running our Mental Health Awareness Project.  She is looking forward to exploring the mental health field further for her graduate studies, and she participates in events to raise awareness about social issues affecting children and youth. She enjoys journaling and reading books during her free time.


Denice  is an undergraduate Brooklyn College student majoring in Psychology while minoring in Anthropology. Denice has felt there is an important need for advocacy and mental health awareness while growing up as a Mexican American in NYC. She decided to become a part of this change first as a Mental Health Advocate with MHAP and now as a Program Coordinator with the Youth Advocacy Corps. While doing this work she hopes to spread awareness, resources, and open people up to having difficult conversations. 

Dominique Nicole Rodriguez was born and raised in Queens, NY. They are creative, passionate, intelligent and empathetic.


In their free time, they enjoy doing yoga, reading, photography, journaling and spending time with family!


Dominique hopes to get a degree in and pursue a career in film production. They wish to create more BIPOC representation and spread awareness on social justice issues. 

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Angie is an undergraduate Psychology student at Brooklyn College. After receiving their undergrad, they plan to continue on to obtain their PhD in Clinical Psychology so that they can work to provide services to those who need them.


They are an avid advocate for mental health, mental health services, and breaking down stigma, especially after growing up in a community where mental health is often swept under the rug.


Aside from this, they enjoy crocheting, knitting, reading, and heavy metal music.

Raquel Rose joined MHAP in 2017 as an intern. Raquel is currently a Doctoral Fellow and clinician-in-training at New York University and serves as the psychological consultant for MHAP. After immigrating to the US as a child she saw the impact that systematic disparities and lack of resources had on the Black-American and Afro-Caribbean communities she loved. Wanting to leverage the resilience in these communities, she sought to collaborate with grass-roots organizations working within and alongside these communities

Amisha Temal

Amisha Temal is an 18-year-old high school student. She grew up in Richmond Hills, Queens in a predominantly brown neighborhood.  In her late teens, she moved to Long Island. She loves nature and hanging out with friends and her siblings. Amisha is interested in Environmental Science and Mental Health. As of right now, she plans to attend college and become an occupational therapist.

Christopher was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. He always has a bunch of people around him, whether it be at home or in school. This made him very comfortable socializing with everyone, and making new friends on a daily. Although he had many friends, he always stuck with a particular few. These few friends would confide in him with their issues and vice versa. Because of this, he became very intuned with his emotions and his experiences in life. He uses this to this day to create a comfortable environment for everyone to feel safe.

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Diana is a proud Mexican-American, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She goes to Brooklyn College, majoring in Communication Studies with a concentration in visual media. After college she plans to continue her flight attendant course. She has a variety of goals and paths that she wishes to accomplish. Diana works as a DSP helping children who are mentally disable to better communicate with their peers. Living in a predominately Hispanic community, she remains grounded to her culture but would love to expand their awareness.


Diana aspires to continue to work in organizations that spread awareness to mental health. She hopes to bring children and parents together so they can talk about mental health. Diana is a family oriented person that loves to make impacts in the lives of others. She loves journaling and spending time with her loved ones. 


Gregory Sanchez is an undergraduate at the City College of New York majoring in Electrical Engineering. Growing up in the South Bronx, he quickly became aware of the stigma towards mental illness in his community. As he confided in his friends, family, and colleagues about his own struggles with mental illness, this stigma appeared increasingly prevalent. His experiences stoked his interest in mental health advocacy, which pushed him to become a MHAP cohort.

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Iris Chon is attending City College of New York while pursuing a Bachelor's in

Psychology. Iris joined Youth Advocacy Corps as a Mental Health Advocate because she wants to raise awareness about mental health for people who need it the most. She believes that acquiring knowledge about mental health will improve one’s physical,mental, and emotional well-being. No one should be left out of gaining more knowledge about mental health no matter what their socioeconomic status is. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that much more important to educate younger generations on their mental health to provide them with the tools to succeed in life. Iris also aspires to be a Mental Health Counselor and give back to the Asian-American community in hopes of destigmatizing mental illnesses.

Marufa Sultana is a fourth year student at Lehman College pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Health Service Administration with a minor in Accounting. Before entering Lehman College, Marufa studied at Borough of Manhattan Community College and achieved an Associate’s Degree in Health Science. Moving to New York City from Bangladesh, it was difficult for Marufa to adjust to the new environment. But in this new environment, she was embracing the future she wants to carve for herself. Marufa joined the Youth Leadership Program to be more part of the community and help the people around her. That is one of the biggest reasons for being involved with something like the Mental Health Awareness Program, so Marufa can learn more about mental health, an important topic that often gets overlooked by a majority. It has always been Marufa’s intention to create an outlet of support for the people around her, and help manage resources that can achieve that.  

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Paola Reyes is a graduate of Brooklyn College who majored in Psychology. She has had an interest in psychology throughout her life, especially on how the brain affects the way one thinks. She is currently pursuing her master’s to become a Mental Health Counselor. She has joined MHAP in hopes to learn more about mental health and to be able to help others as well.

Sanaa Woodley is an undergraduate student at SUNY University at Albany, majoring in Political Science, double minoring in Africana Studies and Sociology. Activities she does in her free time include spending time with family and friends, playing video games, and relaxing. She is very passionate about advocating for human rights for all. Her passion started with the many eerie events in 2020. Sanaa became a MHAP advocate in 2023 and seeks to learn more about those within and outside of her community, helping all those around her that are struggling in silence. The battlefield starts in the mind. Sanaa strives to help fight that battle for all one day at a time.

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Shekanah (They/Them) is a native New Yorker, Born in Brooklyn but now resides in the Bronx the youngest of 5. In their spare time, you can find them trying new foods, drinking bubble tea (and spilling it) Shekanah is an aspiring mental health clinician and hope to receive their degree at Hunter College in the near future.

Tennisha Smith is an undergraduate at Brooklyn College majoring in English education grade 7- through 12. The Mental Health Awareness program is important to her, as this is her first year being mentally aware. Previously, she found it difficult to have a mentally positive lifestyle, as mental health is not advocated for in her community. Her goal is to learn new ways of coping and self-care, to continue improving her mental health. Her overall goal is to learn the importance of mental health awareness, and to spread awareness to all individuals that she influences, especially her students.


Tesfaye is an open-minded college student who likes to engage and meet people. She was raised in Japan and loves art and fashion, she wants to open her own business that involves ideas and creativity. She is looking forward to learning new skills and knowledge to support and educate others to help others and herself. 

Fabiola Leonardo is a senior at the City College of New York (CCNY) majoring in Psychology. She was inspired to go into the field of Psychology after witnessing how her mental health and her community's mental health had been neglected due to the fear and stigma surrounding mental illness. She hopes to bring awareness to her community about the importance of mental health. In her spare time she really enjoys listening to music, reading, and hanging out with friends. 

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Stacy Ann C. De Souza is a legally blind young woman from Trinidad and Tobago who is a graduate of Borough of Manhattan Community College, where she majored in Early Childhood Education, as well as a graduate of Brooklyn College, where she majored in Children Youth Studies. She enjoys music and participating in Daniel’s Music Foundation music classes. 


Stacy Ann now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She started volunteering with Youth Advocacy Corps as a guest speaker for a YASI disability awareness presentation with Professor Carla. Stacy Ann is excited about advocating for Mental Health and Disability Awareness alongside MHAP and is looking forward to motivating young people to let their voices be heard in society in positive ways.

Yuong Huao Ng Liang is a New York City College of Technology undergraduate who majored in Human Services, aims to master Child Psychology, and aspires to be a school counselor, school guidance counselor, or social worker.


Yuong Huao’s interest in mental health stems from his preadolescent to his adolescent years experiences. Yuong Huao experienced bullies at school in the United States and in his hometown. He identifies as Chinese-Venezuelan. Whether it is Chinese or Hispanic culture, mental health is viewed as underrated, nonexistent, and shameful. As a Youth Advocate, he hopes to break the mental health stigma, spread awareness and resources, and inspire people to speak up and seek resources, especially children, youth, and young adults; tell people how you feel, and your feelings should matter.

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Jennifer Meza received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and is now pursuing her Master of Social Work at Hunter's Silberman School of Social Work with a specialization in mental health and clinical practice with individuals, families, and groups. Jennifer grew up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, in a Mexican immigrant family that avoided discussing mental health. 

Jennifer aims to make a difference in her community by helping to

de-stigmatize mental health especially within the Latinx community. As a prospective clinical therapist, Jennifer wants to support communities, especially those with limited resources, by educating individuals about their options for mental health care and helping them improve their emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Jennifer joined the Mental Health Awareness Project to help overcome the stigma associated with mental health by educating students, parents, and other individuals through workshops, community outreach, and advocacy.

Mario Menjivar is a Freshman at CUNY Brooklyn College, majoring in Pre-Med and Computer Science. He greatly enjoys spending time outdoors exploring New York and the beautiful parks here. Having experienced first hand difficulties in needing support and knowing how much even the smallest gestures can mean to someone, he aspires to dive into activism and law in his free time, even considering minoring in these subjects in order to eventually find ways to help the communities in the vast areas of New York. 


He joined MHAP after graduating from ASPIRA of New York High School program in order to continue his advocacy. In doing so, he listens to anyone who needs it and provides support to those who cannot support themselves.

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Celena Boone Urabe is a Psychology, Social Innovation, and English student at Baruch College.


Utilizing their background in film and audio production, their mission is to help people who struggle with their mental health and sexual and gender identities through art and self-expression.


Alongside MHAP, they strive to create safe spaces where all minds can belong. 

Alyssa G. is a 16 year old from Brooklyn, NY. She is an athletic, intelligent, wholesome, motivated teen who is involved in track & cheerleading within her school. Ever since middle school, Alyssa has always made it a goal to remain on the honor roll.


Alyssa is a very down to earth person and an open minded young woman. Alyssa shares a passion for helping others in need, and is always motivated to help the community.


Evelyn Guzman is a student at Brooklyn College completing a double major in Psychology and Children and Youth Studies.


She is in her last year of college and is an aspiring social worker, hoping to work closely with children and families. In her free time, Evelyn enjoys spending time with family and friends and also building large puzzles. 

Nikala D’Aguiar is a second year student at Guttman Community college.

She was born and raised in Guyana, South America and moved to the USA three years ago. Nikala Advocates for survivors of sexual assault and aim to empower theses individuals to share their story and educate others. She was part of the Youth Advocacy Summer Institute where she learned more about mental health. Nikala joined MHAP because she hopes to spread awareness about the importance of  mental health and break the stigma surrounding it. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends and going on adventures. 


Kevin Bennett is an undergraduate nursing student at Hostos Community College. He has a true passion to take care of others and dreams of becoming a nurse and eventually a doctor someday. Kevin joined the Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP) to raise awareness for mental health and teach others how to advocate and support those who are in need. Kevin enjoys reading scientific articles on human and social psychology, helping others and making a difference in this world.

Rachel Bai is a John Jay College of Criminal Justice graduate. She majored in Criminology, minored in Psychology, and earned a certificate in Dispute Resolution. Rachel works at New York Peace Institute on weekdays and Youth Advocacy Corps on the weekends. She is excited about advocating for mental health awareness with MHAP in schools all over NYC. Rachel was born and raised in Brooklyn. In her free time, she likes to bake, read, listen to music, and travel.

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