2022 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.

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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. 

Takierra Simpson is a student at Bronx Community College, majoring in Nursing. She was born in Brooklyn but raised in the boogie down the Bronx. Her humanitarian spirit has aligned her with amazing opportunities to volunteer and participate in services that aid in assisting the less fortunate and protecting women’s rights. She’s passionate about serving others and being a rainbow in someone’s cloud! BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS; reading has improved her life and it continues to improve her intellectual skills. Joining MHAP is a huge accomplishment for her because its mission agrees with my passion to assist low-income communities with resources that aid in their emotional and mental well-being. Being the voice for the voiceless and reminding them of their potential so they establish their own values! A woman who stands on women supporting women. Aspiring to advocate for children, teens, and adults; all ages matter and she loves assisting people through their journey of recovery and self-discovery.

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Amir Timmons is a 17-year-old high school student wrapping up his last year at Manhattan Early College School for Advertising. He lives in the heart of Harlem with his parents, one brother, and one dog. He loves all things, pop culture, advocacy, and adventure-wise. Amir is a leader and someone who cares for many things. He is great at communicating but also loves just talking to people. At MHAP, he hopes to learn more about himself as an upcoming advocate and also hopes to gain some insight on how to approach people when talking about mental health. Despite the stigmatism, Amir wants people to know that mental health is the best type of health as being in a good headspace is the best thing you could ever do. As an African American, Amir thinks mental health is not talked about a lot in his community so he hopes to bring awareness and let people know it's just as important. He hopes that in the near future he’ll be able to do that!

Archisha (Archie) Murthy is a sophomore at New York University (NYU) majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child and Adolescent Mental Studies. She developed an interest in the field of mental health after taking a psychology course in high school and saw the struggles of poor mental health in her family. Archie joined MHAP in hopes to raise awareness in her community about the importance of mental health and to help remove the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, cooking, exploring the city, and hanging out with her friends.

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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

Mariaelena Bajana is an undergraduate at Guttman Community College, majoring in Human Services. Her desire to help others comes from being raised by her grandmother.  And although she may come across as passive-aggressive, Marialeena is only passionate.  Through MHAP she hopes to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

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Fatima Ezahra lfagrouche is a sophomore at James Madison high school. She is 15 years old and was originally born in Morocco but now lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is very passionate about teen mental health and advocates for them in order to let their voices be heard in our society today. Fatima is a very very friendly, nice, kind, reliable, and understanding person who enjoys late-night walks and basketball. 

Darcie Garcia is a senior at Manhattan Early College for Advertising. She’s very passionate about mental health and wishes to become a psychologist in the future. She decided to join MHAP to get an insight into what the field would look like and hopes to destigmatize mental health. Darcie enjoys reading, her main goal is to read at least one book per week. Her favorite book is a romantic novel called “Blanca Olmedo”, this was the book that sparked her love for literature.

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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. 

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. 

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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.

Daniel Luna is currently a second-year college student at the New York Institute of Technology, with aspirations to graduate with a BS in Civil Engineering. Despite not being his academic focus, Daniel takes pride in learning about mental health, and how it affects the lives of many no matter who they are. Born and raised in Brooklyn to an immigrant family, he is well aware of the stigma surrounding mental health topics and hopes to spark conversation on it within his community. Outside of MHAP he enjoys reading and hanging out with friends.

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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.

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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.

SwanSwan Myint is a junior at The New School dual majoring in Illustration and Psychology. She is passionate in exploring the intersection of social work and art, making comics and zines to bring awareness to inequality in her community. She's passionate about storytelling and always trying to find new ways to express it artistically, whether in AR, 3D modeling, or digital illustration. She hopes to help destigmatize mental health through a combination of her passion for art and interest in psychology. In her free time, she likes to play video games, read, watch horror movies, and collect figurines

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Elizabeth Gomez Ceballos is currently a senior at Bayside high school. Their hobbies include playing the ukulele, embroidering, and reading. The reason Elizabeth joined MHAP is that they know with their mental health journey they will be able to help others maintain good mental health and advocate against mental health stigma.

Anna is such a strong, selfless, intelligent, and compassionate person. She is a special person with great morals, and there’s no way anyone can forget her. She loves helping others in any way she can, and she is a reminder to others that life is a precious gift that holds so much truth and meaning. She is ambitious and knows exactly where she is headed in life. She wants to leave a mark on the world, give back to others, and she also wants to be the change that she wishes to see in this world. She wants to encourage everyone to love who they are, where they come from, and the person they’re evolving into. Anna wants to manifest in the growth of herself, live life to the fullest, and uplift society in every way possible. 

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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