The Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board supports the Steve Fund’s programs, initiatives, and outreach efforts nationwide. Youth Advisory Board members promote the importance of education about mental health and emotional well-being and help young people of color access resources on college and university campuses and within their respective communities. They advise on all Steve Fund efforts; help maximize the Fund’s impact among young people of color; help create innovative strategy; and connect their peers to mental health resources. Youth Advisory Board member serve as ambassadors and leaders. In partnership, they work with one another to create, implement, launch, and engage.

You can read more about the Youth Advisory Board in the PDF packet to the right.

Youth Advisory Board
Roles & Responsibilities Packet

Download as PDF file

Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board Leaders

Kaela Farrise

Kaela Farrise

Co-chair

Kaela Farrise is a graduate student at Antioch University Los Angeles studying clinical psychology with specializations in applied community psychology, and trauma psychology. Kaela received her B.A. from Stanford University in African and African American studies, and in urban studies with a focus on urban education. She is a consultant regarding topics of racial diversity and ability status, and is deeply committed to building inclusive and supportive spaces where all people can thrive. As a woman of color who lives with mental illness, she is excited to join The Steve Fund and continue the fight to eliminate mental health stigma and spread awareness regarding mental health and wellness in communities of color. Some of her work includes speaking, facilitating workshops, and creating content to help schools and other organizations better support their students, parents, faculty and staff of color.

Maya Terry

Maya Terry

Co-chair

Maya Terry is a sophomore studying Psychological and Brain Sciences and American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. As a young black woman with high-functioning anxiety and depression, she is dedicated to mental health advocacy, particularly for the black community and other students of color. Through her work, she recognizes the importance of ending the stigma attached to mental illness that prevents many people from seeking out help. Through the Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board, she hopes to incorporate different aspects of her background in psychological research to offer a unique perspective for collaborative frameworks and other mental health-focused projects.

Nushi Yapabandara

Nushi Yapabandara

Co-chair

Nushi Yapabandara is a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara majoring in Philosophy with a concentration in Public Policy and Ethics. She is an activist for a multitude of issues including racial justice, mental health advocacy, and sexual assault at the local, state, and national levels. This is Nushi’s first time being involved with the Steve Fund, but not her first time doing national advocacy work. Nushi is also on the Board of Directors for the United States Student Association and the Young Women of Color 4 Reproductive Justice’s Leadership Council. She looks forward to using the Steve Fund’s valuable resources and connections to bolster mental health advocacy efforts across the country as the Co-Chair of the Youth Advisory Board.

Youth Advisory Board Members

Alice Linda

Alice Linda

Alice Linda is a Senior at UC Santa Cruz, majoring in Psychology, minoring in Politics. I joined the Steve Fund YAB because I believe that we live in a society that values physical health more than mental health. There are significant stressors among college students, and there is the potential for students of color to be exposed to additional stressors, yet it is unfortunate that mental health is widely ignored in many communities of color. I want to be apart of the contributions for change that the Steve Fund is making.

Alyssa Ince

Alyssa Ince

Alyssa Ince is a sophomore at Yale University majoring in Political Science and African American Studies (prospective). Passionate about social justice and equity in higher education, I was drawn to the Steve Fund’s mission to legitimize the mental/emotional health disparities faced by students of marginalized identities. As a member of the Youth Advisory Board, I look forward to creating meaningful programs while jumpstarting dialogue surrounding mental health on college campuses.

Brittany Washington

Brittany Washington

Brittany Washington is a senior at Georgia State University majoring in Psychology and African American Studies. I joined the Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board, because I am very passionate about eliminating the negative stigma that mental health has in many communities of minorities, especially within the black community. Since the Steve Fund is the only non-profit organization that advocates for this, I decided that this was the perfect match for me. Mental health is an extremely important topic that gets hardly any major attention, even though it affects a majority of individuals at some point in their lives. And I feel that we me, and all of the other members of this amazing organization, we can make a change for the better while saving many lives in the process.

Dazialee Goodwin

Dazialee Goodwin

Dazialee Goodwin is a graduate student at Saint Louis University focusing in Clinical Psychology. Dazialee aims to reshape the negative perception and stigma associated with mental health services while educating others of the benefits that such services can provide. She joined the Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board to encourage and enhance the mental health services and resources available for people of color at colleges, universities, and the larger community.

Gowri Jagadeesh

Gowri Jagadeesh

Gowri Jagadeesh is a freshman at Monmouth University majoring in health studies. After personally noticing the disparities in mental health services for people of color, she became interested in advocating for equal access to good mental healthcare. She believes that good mental health is vital to lead a fulfilled life, which is why it is important for young people of color to have the right resources. Gowri is enthusiastic to serve for the Steve Fund to help bring initiatives forward.

Gustavo Molinar

Gustavo Molinar

Gustavo Molinar is a 1st-year graduate student at The Ohio State University in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Master’s program. I joined the Steve Fund YAB to promote mental health amongst students of color and reduce the stigma behind mental health.

Idris Mitchell

Idris Mitchell

Idris Mitchell, a senior at Yale University studying Political Science and Psychology, joined the Steve Fund Youth Advisory board because he knows the importance of positively addressing mental health especially among youth. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder several years ago, Idris hopes to confront the stigma surrounding mental health concerns, encouraging dialogue and understanding of how mental health affects everyone’s daily life. He is passionate about opportunity and achievement gaps experienced by young people of color, and truly believes that mental health support and emotional well-being make up the foundation upon which any progress—both individual and communal— can be made.

Jada Hill

Jada Hill

Jada Hill is a 2016 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University. She received a Bachelors of Science in General Science. During her undergraduate career, Jada developed a passion for pursuing educational and social equity and increasing knowledge around mental illness and wellness in communities of color. Experiencing the challenges of maintaining mental health strengthened her resolve to make a change in how these communities approach mental illness. She is eager to work with the Youth Advisory Board to close the gap between being a student and moving into post-undergraduate life in a healthy manner.

Jay Wang

Jay Wang

Jay Wang is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Biology. He is currently attending the University of North Texas Health Science Center to pursue a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences. As a former Peer Educator from the Counseling and Mental Health Center at UT Austin, it was a privilege for Jay to participate in focus groups and committees that helped to develop programs and initiatives that targeted the student body. After graduating this past spring, however, Jay wanted to continue his work in promoting mental health, especially for students of color that are handling their various identities in a new, stressful environment, such as college/university. Through the Steve Fund YAB, Jay hopes to help continue this work for young people of color along with those that are LGBTQ+, immigrants, first generation, etc., so that they may develop the proper tools to progress and reach their ambitious goals in life.

Jazmin Pruitt

Jazmin Pruitt

Jazmin Pruitt is a junior at Georgetown University majoring in Biology of Global Health and minoring in African American Studies. I joined the Steve Fund YAB because I believe it will provide a platform to allow for decisively breaking the stigmas surrounding mental health as well as finding ways to improve the sometimes toxic climate students with mental health challenges find themselves in. These stigmas and climate are inter-related and addressing them both synergistically will provide an environment where students can thrive instead of having to adapt to a specific environment that is often flawed.

Kenna Chick

Kenna Chick

Kenna Chick is a sophomore at Georgetown University who is creating her major in Global Mental Health Legislation. Her passion for mental health stems from both personal experience and the experience of those around her. Kenna is currently the Chair of the Mental Health Policy Coalition of the Georgetown University Student Association and the Director of Outreach for Project Lighthouse, an anonymous peer-to-peer chat line that provides support to students. She joined the Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board in order to conduct research and work on legislation focusing on the mental health of people of color.

Kyle Cayemittes

Kyle Cayemittes

Kyle is a senior at Baruch College majoring in Finance. He believes that it is his duty to give back to his communities, as he has been a product of the combined efforts of others. Being able to collaborate and learn with like-minded students and graduates from around the country is something that he always embraces. To be able to do that and promote the importance of the education around mental health and emotional well being with The Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board is exactly what Kyle is passionate about.

Melina Acosta

Melina Acosta

Melina is a first-year graduate student of social work at The University of Texas at Austin. After losing her father to suicide during her freshman year of college, she spent her last two-and-a-half undergraduate years conducting research in college student mental health and suicide, as well as advocating for increased mental health awareness and resources on campus. A first-generation Latina student, Melina joined the Steve Fund YAB to help identify and address the mental health needs of college students of color across the country.

Oladele Osisami

Oladele Osisami

Oladele Osisami is a senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham majoring in Biology with minors in Psychology and Chemistry. Oladele believes that mental health is just as important as physical health, possibly even more important. Oladele feels that people of color should have greater access to mental health services as chronically stigmatized populations have greater needs for these services. He joined the Steve Fund YAB to increase access to mental health programs on his campus and in his community

Simeon Sylvester

Simeon Sylvester

Simeon Sylvester is a recent graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a major in Finance and a minor in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He joined the Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board because he believes that the vision and actions that the Fund embodies are universal. The struggle with minority college students and mental health is real and action towards bettering it needs to be taken. Mental health is important to him because he knows how it feels to be in college and also to struggle mentally in some aspects. Getting over that obstacle in his life encourages him to help other students strive forward.

Vania Richardson

Vania Richardson

Vania Richardson is a Senior from California State University, Sacramento majoring in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology and Biology Anthropology. I’m interested in joining the Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board because it will give me a chance to participate in community outreach where I can set an example by conducting personal activities that will stimulate his or her mind to be better individuals and know that they are not alone dealing with social barriers. Also, I believe mental health is important because it will help broaden others knowledge of staying inform of the social barriers that inflict a person’s ability to achieve his or her greatest and cognitive process.