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 MHAP Alumni


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

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. 

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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. 

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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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.

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. 


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.

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.


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.

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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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.

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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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. 


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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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.

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. 


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. 

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.

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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.


Takierra Simpson is a student at Bronx Community College, majoring in Nursing. She was born in Brooklyn but raised in the boogie down 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.

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.

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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. 


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!


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.

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. 


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.

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.


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.

Kristy Hall is currently a Junior at Brooklyn College majoring in Children and Youth Studies. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  Kristy joined YAC’s internship program to gain a better understanding of mental health. She hopes to become a mental health advocate and help empower our youth.  Kristy believes our youth are our future leaders. During her free time, she enjoys studying, spending time with her family, and helping out people in her community. Most importantly, she enjoys spending time with her four-year-old daughter, Katelyn.

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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

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. 

Muntah Mamun is a senior at the Brooklyn Latin School. She was born in Bangladesh and grew up in the Bronx with two younger brothers. Muntaha has always been passionate about social justice and mental health advocacy. She was even part of the Youth Advocacy Summer Institution, where she was exposed to several important social issues and ways to tackle such issues. Furthermore, she is really excited to be part of the MHAP team to develop the necessary skill-sets to become a better advocate for mental health. Through MHAP, Muntaha aims to destigmatize mental health especially in marginalized communities, and provide a safe space for those who are struggling with their mental health.


Abigail Simon is a senior at Bayside High School. She is very passionate about mental health and plans to major in psychology in college. She joined MHAP with the hopes of learning more about the stigmas regarding mental health and helping to eradicate them. She is known to be shy, but friendly, loving, and caring. In her free time, Abigail loves to read, sing, and binge-watch Netflix shows. 

Toddossa Coleman is currently a graduate student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She was born and raised in the Bronx. Toddossa enjoys working with youth and advocating for mental wellness. She loves to travel and read books during her free time.


Giuliana Davis is an Education Studies Undergraduate at New York University. She is excited to be working with MHAP in NYC schools, advocating for Mental Health. Giuliana is passionate about equal opportunities in education and wishes to teach Social Studies in secondary school after graduation.

Jennifer Hernandez is a Freshman at Hunter College who is majoring in Political Science with a Minor in Philosophy. She was born and raised in NYC. She is passionate about spreading positivity and advocacy towards criminal justice reform. She was part of the Youth Advocacy Corps summer program, YASI. During her time at YASI she learned more about Mental Health and how misinformed people are on the topic. Her experience at YASI was really impactful, that she decided to join, Mental Health Awareness Project in hopes to inform and shine light on the importance of self care and Mental Health resources. During her free time she can be found watching a comedy, listening to music and spending time with her loved ones.


Nafi Billah is a freshmen in college at City Tech. Nafi is known for his dashing looks and his outgoing personality, he is very well worth meeting. His passion for Mental Health can be told through the past and present programs that he is involved in such as MHPA, YASI and BCF. Nafi’s passion is expressed through outreaches and his interactions with the people around him such as youth organization groups and family. His strengths come in communication and his weakness is understanding but it is a work in development.

Monia Begum is an undergraduate pre med student at Brooklyn College. She joined the Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP) with the hope that she can continue to bring awareness to mental health, a subject not given enough attention. She would like to contribute to the continuous efforts of educating her community about the rights they have in regards to mental health. Her favorite hobbies are way too many to count but she enjoys reading, watching Netflix, writing, planning (she’s a planner girl), and playing volleyball, amongst many more.


Henry is a student at Queens College CUNY majoring in Sociology and minoring in Computer Science. His academic interests are in data science, social psychology, and public policy research, specifically in healthcare. He is deeply analytical and takes a comprehensive approach to mental health advocacy that covers the clinical, psychosocial, and economic facets of mental health. Henry loves connecting with youth, inspiring others to self-reflect and think critically, and breaking down stigma with MHAP. In his free time, he enjoys golf and basketball, listening to music, and staying up to date on recent politics.

Anjali Temal is a high school senior at the Brooklyn Latin School. She grew up in Queens with three younger siblings. Anjali advocates for mental health awareness, kindness, and body acceptance. In her school, Anjali works with others to draw attention to areas of study that aren’t covered in a typical history curriculum, such as Environmental History and the history of Mental Health in America. Anjali joined MHAP so that she could encourage others to take care of their mental health while also working to break down the stigma. In her free time, Anjali likes to read, spend time with family, and take care of her plants.


Caitlyn Strawder is a sophomore at Borough of Manhattan Community College for Public Health with plans to continue her education in social work. Caitlyn became interested in mental health at a young age as she saw how it affected her own family. As a young adult, Caitlyn learned how to ensure her own mental wellness through simple self-care and therapy. When Caitlyn is not advocating for mental health, she can be found cooking, in a yoga class, or spending time with her kitten.

Shanice Bent is a John Jay College of Criminal Justices Graduate. She Majored in Criminology With a Minor in Human Services. She enjoys mentoring youth who are from low-income neighborhoods. She developed this passion when she helped high school seniors matriculate to college. Shanice provided students with college resources and assistance with submitting their FAFSA documents. She also directed students to local and internal offices located on their campus. Now she is apart of MHAP Peer Advocates. She advocates to normalize and increase conversations around mental health. Shanice wants to ensure that people know that mental health is in all humans.  Our mental health depends on positive and negative experiences. Shanice believes that having effective coping skills helps to improve our mental health and develop trustworthy relationships.


Yany Paulino is Brooklyn born and raised. She is currently a senior at Brooklyn College, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Children and Youth Studies. Yanybel’s career goal is to become a School Psychologist and work with children and adolescents in poor and low-income communities. She has always been passionate about helping those who are in need and knew she was meant to make a difference in the lives of children and adolescents. Additionally, she aims to attend graduate school for School Psychology. The Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP) has given Yanybel the opportunity to learn in depth about mental health awareness and educate individuals on the importance of it. When she is not in school,  work or interning, she spends her time cooking, listening to music, praying, and spending time with loved ones.

Saddiq Abdul  is a senior at Baruch College and a member of the YASI 2015 founding corps. While in YASI 2015, Saddiq conceived of the idea for the Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP), and he is currently working with Youth Advocacy Corps on implementing it. Saddiq grew up in East New York, and, while in high school, he interned with East New York Farms and Brooklyn Defenders. He is determined to improve conditions in East New York for himself and others, and he has been working to become an organizer and mobilize others, through social media and local campaigns, to reduce the stigma around mental health. Saddiq is on his local Community Board (#5) and was just appointed to be the head of the Communications Committee.


Hetheru Shango is a resident of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. She recently obtained her Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Children Studies. In her near future she hopes to obtain her Masters in Mental Health Counseling and pursue a career ensuring the well-being of youth.

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