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.
Karen Meza is a Hunter College graduate who majored in Psychology and is aspiring to be a Mental Health Counselor. Karen's interest in mental health emerged from her upbringing in a Mexican household in the South Bronx, where mental health is deemed unimportant and nonexistent. As part of MHAP, she hopes to properly inform people about mental health and break the stigma when it comes to talking about mental health.
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.
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
Diandrea Greenaway, also known as Di, is an undergraduate Brooklyn College student double majoring in Children and Youth Studies and Sociology. Di’s interest in mental health comes from her passion for working with kids which she plans to culminate in a career as a public-school guidance counselor. She understands first hand how important understanding and caring for your mental health is, and wishes to continue to teach and learn more from others about this topic. In her free time, she likes to write, read, dance, and create content.
Christina Ortiz is a Brooklyn College student completing a dual certificate in Early Childhood/ Special Education and Children and Youth Studies.
Her experience of working with children for over ten years has led her to witness them thrive when given the proper attention and tools to succeed in school and life. She wants to support a young person in their mental journey by creating a safe and positive environment that will lead them to flourish in society. She believes, when young people feel safe, they are more receptive to taking and giving information.
Grace Tatom is a parent; youth advocate, community helper, full time student and athlete who is currently attending LaGuardia Community College. Some of her favorite hobbies are listening and dancing to music, reading, playing basketball, cooking and spending time with her loved ones. Grace's goals in life is to continue developing skills in leadership, public speaking, communication and networking so that she can continue making a positive impact on the social system, educational systems and communities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 POC representation and spread awareness on social justice issues.
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.
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.
Celeste is 19 years old and has been struggling with mental health issues since she was 13. She’s been on a journey with therapy and taking medication and is still resilient and adamant about not only her going to therapy, but therapy for all. Her interests include journaling, self care days, baking, and taking walks in the park. This program is special to her because she sees the disconnect and stigmatism towards mental health in the BIPOC community and she wants to be a part of the change.
Ibrahim Nabassin is a senior at Mott Hall V who is working on graduating so that he can be able to go to college and study Political Science. He has joined many after school clubs such as Student council for four years and has joined the social Justice club.
Ibrahim is hoping to inform more people about Mental Awareness so that they would know about it.
Jane Ekhtman is a student at Macaulay Honors College studying Psychology and Women's Studies. Jane's aspirations to become a clinical psychologist came from seeing how the stigmatization of mental health in immigrant cultures harmed her family members and friends. She is passionate about feminism, and during her career hopes to conduct research to combat gender inequality and provide therapy at women's clinics
Zakearah Young is a 16-year-old high school Junior born and raised in Brooklyn. She cares about family and close friends, She has a huge heart and loves to see everyone happy. Zakearah developed an interest in the law field once she saw how the justice system treats people of color. The current system is one-sided and only listens to one side of what happened instead of both parties to figure out the whole story. Zakearah currently aspires to become a Criminal Justice Attorney who hears people’s stories and be his voice for those whose voices are being shut out and not listened to.
Nelly Pierre is passionate about mental health awareness and looks forwards to a career that is impact driven. She hopes that MHAP will help her on that journey and become a better advocate. In her spare time, Nelly enjoys cooking, writing, and rewatching Community, Living Single, and Gilmore Girls.
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.
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.