Jennifer Magida (Founder and Director) started Youth Advocacy Corps in 2015 to create service programs that address the resource gap and inequity pervasive in NYC and help shape the futures of NYC youth from communities impacted by poverty. Generally frustrated by the lack of services and information in low-income communities, Jennifer left her job as a litigator in 2014 to work directly with youth from the communities she served as a lawyer, with the goal of engaging them in the fight against poverty. Prior to 2015, Jennifer worked as a public interest lawyer in New York City; she litigated class actions and other impact cases as an attorney with the Special Litigation Unit at the New York Legal Assistance Group, and before that worked as an attorney with the Homelessness Outreach and Prevention Project at the Urban Justice Center. Jennifer also worked in various legal capacities at a legal aid clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, at UNESCO in Paris, France, and at the AIRE Centre, a human rights organization in London, England. Jennifer received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and her B.A. from Yale University.
Jennifer De La Cruz (Program Director) 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 both Youth Advocacy Summer Institute and the 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. Jenny is the treasurer of the Children First Club and fundraises for national and local charities.
Karen Meza (Program Co-Director) 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 (Program Coordinator) is an undergraduate Brooklyn College student majoring in Psychology while minoring in Anthropology and is aspiring to be a Bilingual School Psychologist. 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 is now an official staff. While doing this work she hopes to spread awareness, resources, and open people up to having difficult conversations.
Raquel Rose (Psychological Consultant) 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