Susan Manzi, Executive Director
Susan Manzi is an advocate, community educator and organizer. She speaks to the injustices of vulnerable families and young people within Systems of Care, and dreams of a day where neighborhoods can share resources, restore justice, and speak peace to one another–keeping folks out of Systems, and thriving in communities. Her lived experiences as queer, third generation foster care survivor, and a psychiatric *thriver* have empowered her to develop and deliver models and policy for systems-change in Mental Health and Child Welfare. Much of her training and advocacy career started in Humboldt County, where Susan was an active part of Prop 63, co-founding the California Youth Connection Chapter and Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaboration (HCTAYC). In addition to her activism in Northern California, Susan has worked on National work groups to address critical issues of disproportionality, disparity and permanency within the Child Welfare System. Susan was a Fellow with the New Organizing Institute and studied under Professor Marshall Ganz, grappling with the struggle to have front line communities uphold psychosocial wellness as a core value when doing social justice and liberation work. As an artist, Susan strives to bring holistic healing and the creative arts into her political work. As one of many founding members of Youth In Mind, Susan envisions the day when the original leadership team can look back, and see the ripples of resistance within the mental health community, and the power that young people with a vision have.
Aundrea “Olive” Stuckey, Northern Programs and Outreach Specialist
Aundrea Stuckey grew up between Humboldt County and San Diego. At 18 years old, she returned to Humboldt County where she had her first experience with the public mental health system. It was a wake up call for Aundrea and helped to shape her thoughts around her own experience and also what needed to be changed to better serve the public. Aundrea also coordinated a local Stomp (mental health stigma and discrimination reduction) event at a community center in Eureka that focused on suicide prevention, collaborated with the Yuroc Tribe and Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaborative and featured up-and-coming band, The Dubbadubs.
Aundrea is committed to be a part of a community that helps to break the stigma around mental health challenges. She aims to build community with and for those impacted with mental health diagnosis so that even in the midst of the challenges they still have access to a loving, respectful and supportive community. Aundrea is excited to be building mental health supports in the community she was raised, and the community that she loves.
Glen Hong, Youth In Mind Outreach Specialist
Carmen Lansdowne, Board President
Carmen is a strategic planner, obsessed with best practices, committed to staff development opportunities, diversity and equity in the workplace. I use my fantastic people skills to take care of my organization’s team. Carmen also has developed strong accounting/finance and HR functions for small non-profits to large global organizations. Her personal experiences coupled with her commitment to Youth In Mind’s mission makes her an excellent person to move Youth In Mind forward for another 10 years!
Darryn Green, Secretary
Darryn Green is a student, teacher, mentor, counselor, advocate and friend. He believes that education is essential to empowering young people to flourish in the world. In 2011 Darryn co-coordinated the first ever Queer Yo’ Mind conference at San Francisco State University which provided an opportunity for the academic and greater LGBT community to share resources and learn from each other. He has been providing training for child welfare workers and foster parents in San Francisco county since 2009 and brings a breadth of skills in group facilitation, project coordination, mentoring, coaching, positive youth development, training, curricula development, peer counseling and conflict resolution to the organization. Darryn is a former foster youth that has greatly benefited from involvement in youth empowerment organizations like the California Youth Connection (CYC) and the YOUTH Training Project (YTP). The skills he developed through his work within these organizations led to many opportunities to success.
Nguyen Weeks, Treasurer
Nguyen Weeks is excited to share her skills and expertise for such an amazing group of committed, powerful youth and young adults. Similar to many families, mental health was not a common topic of conversation although, her family was impacted. Youth In Mind has had a tremendous impact on Nguyen and allowed her to gain a thorough understanding of how to talk about mental health challenges, and more importantly how to be more empowered when addressing stigma and other challenges that arise. Nguyen hopes to support the organization by bringing her Communications and Administration background to help grow and support Youth In Mind, which she has come to appreciate and love.
Roshni Naidu, Board Member
Roshni is currently a data scientist at Amazon who recently graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry and a Master’s in Financial Engineering. She has a lot of experience with the mental health system due to the illness of close relatives and knows how hard it is to wade through it. She hopes to help Youth in Mind with their finances and is hoping to learn more about the organization.
Ben Holloway, Board Member
Ben Holloway is a recent graduate from Hamilton College where he earned his B.A. in Political Economics. On campus he was President of the Finance Club, a Peer Advisor at the Career Services Center, and was actively involved with many other organization on campus. He is relocating out to the Bay Area in the fall where he will begin work as a Finance Associate at Intuit. After battling with multiple anxiety disorders throughout his childhood he hopes to use his skills and experiences to impact the lives of youths and believes that working with YIM is one of the best ways to achieve this goal.
Rita Naranjo, Board Member
Rita Naranjo has earned her Master’s degree in Applied Sociological Practice from California State University, San Marcos, to further her goals to evoke change in foster care through policy and community action. Her life experiences have developed an undying passion to build, create and sustain life in a positive and constructive way. Rita Esmeralda understands with great depth the complex issues that exist in this society and the world. Her goal of developing and enhancing her knowledge as a sociologist, activist, filmmaker, and community organizer is rooted in her desire to fight against oppression and injustice. She wants to help empower and encourage her family and community to realize and develop powerful potential. Rita Esmeralda plans to continue to raise awareness on the importance of history and how this helps us to navigate through different systems of this society. She believes that we have a chance to develop natural and creative strengths and be solid contributors and builders of life.
Leon Rock, Friend of the Board
Leon Rock (Rock) is a urban community-building consultant, grant writer, trainer, motivational speaker, political talk show host and blogger. He has assisted hundreds of housing agencies, nonprofits and small businesses increase their efficiency, manage change, and overcome challenges. Rock has worked with small businesses, Federal and state agencies along with nonprofits to recommend policy guidance on various aspects of housing, education, and community transformation projects. Rock has worked as contractor to HUD’s HOPE VI, Resident Opportunities to Self Sufficiency (ROSS), Section 8, HUD’s Moving to Work (MTW), HUD Drug Elimination and Neighborhood Networks. He has also worked as a subject matter expert regarding HUD’s Section 3 Training, DC public Schools, special education projects, along with US Department of Education, HHS, Labor, Justice, and other Federal best practice programs. His expertise also includes nonprofit board development, public housing personnel executive searches, transition management, needs assessments, strategic planning, fund development, and grant writing for nonprofits and housing agencies. Rock one of approximately 200 registered African American Lobbyist in the United States and who served as a local and national political strategist. Rock is also publisher of PublicHousingJobs.com.
Martha Thompson, Friend of the Board
Martha Thompson has worked in Latin America for 18 years, principally with populations involved in armed conflict and persons living in refugee camps. Her background also includes work on issues of repatriation, gender, public health, disaster response and community participation. “The people I have been privileged to work with have taught me the importance of placing those whose rights are being affected at the center of the response to the crisis,” she says. “Our human rights work has to support their participation, their voice, and their ability to act.” Martha has worked as a consultant and taught on the subjects of aid and gender in conflict situations at both Tufts and Brandeis universities in Massachusetts. She has published reports on gender in conflicts, aid in disasters, and conflict preparedness and response.
Nicholas Peraino, Friend of the Board
Nicholas Peraino is a Research Analyst and is currently on the board of Alameda Alliance for Health. Nicholas has extensive experience working in Public Policy and was a Research/Teaching Assistant at the University of California at Davis. Youth In Mind is incredibly excited to welcome his skills and expertise to our organization.
Ellison Weeks, Friend of the Board
Ellison Weeks is an experienced, multilingual education abroad professional with expertise in program design and implementation; strategic partnerships, crisis management, budgetary development and oversight; and nontraditional student outreach and engagement. He has served as Director of Programs for the Bardoli Global Scholars Program where he designed and implemented international youth leadership programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, New York and Seattle. He also led a team of teachers, volunteers, and partner organization staff.
Kate Teague, Former Board Member
Kate Teague, is involved with Youth In Mind because she thinks that youth should be advocates for themselves and others, that their expertise should be valued, that treatment should help youth, not hurt, and that empowered youth will address stigma. Apart from working with Youth In Mind, Kate professionally works for California Youth Connection as the Bay Area/Central Valley Outreach Coordinator. California Youth Connection is a foster care advocacy organization guided and focused by current and former foster youth that works to involve foster youth in child welfare policy and improving social work practice. In general, Kate believes that empowered youth change the world!
Claudia Mendez, Former Board Member
At the age of 16 years old Claudia Mendez was placed in foster care in result, she decided to take all of the pain she carried and became a grassroots organizer, so that other young people would not have to experience such harsh injustice. Claudia is proud to be in community with other young leaders and to be helping create change in order to help other Transitional Aged Youth. In the near future Claudia will be entering grad school and looks forward to becoming a better person each day.