The Youth Advisory Board works with the YTH team to tackle sexual health disparities among youth and young adults. These talented, passionate, and diverse young leaders are involved in projects for youth health around the country, and they influence the development, scope, and design of our projects. The board provides guidance and feedback, as well as contributing their stories and experiences on YTH’s blog.
Or, to put it more simply: they are inspiring.
Meet our Youth Advisory Board:
Brooke Roberts has a strong passion for helping others. Through her continued internship with The Life of a Scholar, she has been able to motivate fellow and future scholars through social media outlets including Facebook and Instagram. Brooke focuses on improving the health and well-being of women who have been domestically abused, in addition to assisting young girls who struggle with self-esteem. She is also determined to find positive and productive ways to keep youth out of trouble, with an emphasis on young black men who are exposed to gun violence.
Brooke believes in selflessness and allowing yourself to become vulnerable in order to benefit others—a quality she wants to instill in today’s youth, especially in her hometown of Gaston, NC. She is extremely involved in extracurricular activities at Elizabeth City State University and loves to volunteer at the local food bank, nursing home, and elementary school. During her spare time, she is addicted to her two favorite shows on Netflix—House and The Office!
Elisabeth Dee is an activist, writer, student, advocate, and feminist. She is currently pursuing a double major in anthropology (emphasis in medicine) and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies (emphasis in queer health) at Stanford University. She is the Co-Director and Projects Manager for the Stanford Sexual Health Peer Resource Center. She has interned for NARAL Pro-Choice California and Triangle Project.
Elisabeth firmly believes in intersectional and accessible sexual education as a key to self empowerment. Her work focuses on sexual/reproductive justice in LGBTQIA+ communities, abortion access, and the broader ethic of bodily self-determination. She is fiercely passionate about sexual assault prevention on college campuses, taking action through community organizing and collective healing.
In her spare time, Elisabeth enjoys hiking, making mac ‘n cheese, and watching documentaries. She is constantly on a search for the best cup of coffee in San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter at @elisabeth_dee_.
Janaya Greene is a journalist, screenwriter, and student who advocates for racial equality and viable sexual health resources for women. She majors in Public Affairs Journalism with minors in media production and analysis and African American and African studies at The Ohio State University. Janaya worked as a VICE Media and Center for Communication Summer 2016 Fellow and is a contributing writer for Scenarios USA, a nonprofit organization focused on social justice issues. The Southside Chicago-native hopes to improve the socioeconomic status of Black people by reporting on communities in the African Diaspora worldwide. Janaya also wrote a short film, Veracity, that is presenting on Showtime networks.
When she isn’t watching Steven Universe or practicing photography, she’s probably listening to The Internet while trying on a million shades of lipstick. Read Janaya’s writing and follow her on Twitter at @janayagr.
Excelling in athletics and snacking, Monique has enjoyed a stable life and strives to help others find their own state of happiness and health. She works as a healthcare analyst and finds meaning in work related to sustainable healthcare innovation, disease prevention, and improving health education and access.
While at Claremont McKenna College, Monique majored in science and management; founded a global public health club; was a varsity volleyball and track and field athlete; was an Asian American/Pacific Islander mentor; and worked as a peer health educator focusing on nutrition, mental health, and sexual health. She was also voted the friendliest in her class and hopes to brighten your day.
Monique has engaged in research on implementing biotechnology in medicine, tobacco cessation, brain cancer regression, HIV/AIDS prevention, and the intersection of geographical assets, lifestyle coaching, and personalizing phone applications in diabetes prevention. She continues to advocate for efficacious health programs and technology and improving the transparency of health policy.
Muluba Habanyama was born HIV positive, and 22 years later she is now a youth HIV/AIDS advocate. Since disclosing her status on YouTube in December 2014, Muluba has been featured in various Canadian publications including The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Valley, and more. She also wrote her own feature with MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation. Muluba was recently awarded a Black Women Moving Forward award for her advocacy work. She was also chosen as the Honourary Chair for the Peel 2015 AIDS Walk and is the national ambassador for Kisses 4 CANFAR.
Muluba continues to volunteer for various organizations including the Peel HIV/AIDS Network and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. She currently studies journalism at the Sheridan College Institute of Technology. Through public speaking, social media, and a passion for educating, engaging, and empowering youth, Muluba brings a unique and valuable perspective to the YTH Youth Advisory Board.
Shawn Reilly is an advocate for LGBTQ people in Nashville, Tennessee. They run a young person’s LGBT support group, Mobius, and a social justice art collective, Creative Resistance. They work as a program coordinator for the PENCIL foundation, and are currently leading a campaign for living wage for dining workers at Vanderbilt University.
Shawn is in their final year at Vanderbilt University, majoring in social justice, arts and education studies. While at Vanderbilt, they have been instrumental in a campaign for gender-inclusive housing and support for transgender and gender expansive students on campus through the institutionalization of pronouns, and trainings for faculty and students on transgender issues.
They formerly served as a college mentor for the Just Us program at Oasis Center, Inc, where they advised a group of high school activists on social justice projects that are implemented in the Nashville Area. They are a former blog coordinator and fellow for Young People For (YP4), and Transgender and Genderqueer Collective Liberation Co-Chair for United students Against Sweatshops. They continue to be a Posse scholar and NASPA fellow.
Other than activism and social justice efforts, Shawn enjoys reading, creating, watching documentaries, and spending time in the great outdoors. You can find Shawn on Instagram at @shawn_reilly or on Twitter at @sjshawnreilly.
Vianey Twyford is peer educator, artist, and musician who advocates for universal access to physical and mental health services. Working with her local LGBTQ community, Vianey has encouraged high school students to become comfortable with their own identities and understand the importance of sexual health education for same-sex couples. During high school, Vianey was a member of Youth Educating and Advocating for Health where she presented on teen health topics like body image, sex education, and alcohol education to health classes.
In 2014, Vianey became a TeenSource Multimedia Peer Educator for the < a href=”https://cfhc.org/”>California Family Health Council, where she used social media platforms to create blogs focusing on sexual and reproductive health education. Through this experience she has become passionate about the accessibility of sexual health education that influences unplanned pregnancies, healthy relationships, and STIs.
Vianey enjoys creating music, spending time with her cat, and learning Spanish and French. She is a vegetarian, a feminist, and active aesthetic blogger.
Yaira Matos is a student and activist studying international relations, Latin American studies, and
journalism at Salem State University. Her focus is on public health, international development, urban design and planning, and medical anthropology, and she is interested in how we can design, create, and sustain communities free of poverty, disease, and unnecessary suffering. Yaira is also the creator of the Reconnect Series, a collection of forums dedicated to fostering conversation about the heroin epidemic in Massachusetts.
Yaira works to shift cultural perceptions around immigrants, abortion, women’s rights, and education. A proud Dominican-American feminist, she loves exploring the various representations and meanings
of identity and culture through technology, visual arts, and storytelling. Yaira is obsessed with
knowledge, ideas, creating safe and inclusive spaces, and good coffee. She hopes to provide an ear and voice for the marginalized at all times.
As a new member of the YTH board, Joseph aims to be an important factor for everyone that he is involved with. Having lived in poverty before, Joseph aspires to make an impact in the health of those who are wearing the same shoes that he did.
Joseph hopes to someday find the link and to understand how being raised in poverty can affect health and behavior with the intent of using the knowledge to help those in need.
Other than being a student at College of Marin, Joseph works hard to stay active on campus by working as a College of Marin Student Ambassador and being involved in clubs who volunteer for the local community.
In his leisure time, you can find Joseph being an iPhone photographer, exploring nature, and playing the acoustic guitar.
Martevia Bledsoe is a college student, activist, and student leader. She is currently a Senior majoring in public health with a minor in medical sociology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Martevia’s biggest passions include minority health and preventive medicine as she advocates for better health outcomes in minority and disadvantaged populations by working to develop programs and initiatives that increase access to resources that can improve and promote a healthier lifestyle as well as decrease health disparities. She strives to improve health education and access among these populations by working closely with the UAB Division of Preventative Medicine where she works with the Birmingham REACH for Better Health Project that is funded through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Over the course of the next year, Martevia will be conducting community-based and health disparities research for publication and scientific and grant writing that will allow her to work and develop more health intervention and awareness programs.
Martevia is a very active student leader on her campus and is relentlessly passionate about serving as a resource and empowering others to reach their highest potential. Her dedication has earned her the title of the Undergraduate Distinguished Service Leader of the Year for 2016 at UAB. From volunteering and coordinating large-scale service and community projects through numerous executive leadership positions, she stands firm in her belief that being the change that you want to see in the world and investing in those around her is what makes every moment worth it. When she isn’t thinking of a master plan on how to save the world, you can probably find her satisfying her taste buds by trying different restaurants around town or seizing the day.
While working as a tutor and after school group leader, Claudia recognized how youth who come from a low-income and racial minority background have to face many adversities alone, due to cultural shock.
Most of her work has been affiliated with San Mark’s Church in Richmond CA, where she volunteers with several ministries and collaborates in social justice projects with Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization and San Mark’s Church in order to build a more integral community in the Bay Area. Currently, she is working as a part of a group to support youth from 10-18 years of age and their legal guardians by sharing experiences and stories.
In Fall 2017, she will be graduating from College of Marin and transferring to a four year college to pursue a sociology and communications. Her long term goal is to continue helping others locally, with her sights on global opportunities. She is primarily interested in the following issues; poverty, women equal rights, illegal immigration and many other contemporary social issues that affect this country as well as other foreign countries.
Claudia strongly believes that through education, effective communication and listening skills, many of the issues that are disputed in our country and society, would be discussed with more respect and we will arrive at equality and peace with one another. She is excited to collaborate with other YAB members and learn what it takes to be a good leader to other youth.
In her spare time, Claudia loves going to zumba fitness workouts, reading self-growth books, and learning more about music theory.