Our Speakers

Our professional young adult speakers provide educational programs built around lived experiences. These dynamic young adults who have struggled with mental health issues share their personal stories and recovery. 

Young Adult Speakers

Andrew

Andrew’s goal is to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issue, and help others who may be suffering to know that they are not alone and that it gets better.

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Brooke

Brooke hopes to impart knowledge around letting go of self-doubt and negative coping mechanisms by replacing them with positive skills and attitudes.

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Celina

An early family tragedy led Celina to believe that if she just stayed busy she didn’t have to deal with the difficult emotions she was feeling. A lifetime of this led to unhealthy behaviors, depression, insomnia, and eventually suicidal ideation. Through seeking help, Celina is able today to deliver a message of empowerment, urging the audience to remember that they are enough as they are, and they are not alone in their struggles.

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Colin

Colin shares his compelling story of how he made a plan to end his life, and ultimately what it took to find wellness today. He is living proof that it does get better! He wants others know it is okay to not be okay, and there is always hope.

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Erica

The isolation and uncertainty that came with the pandemic raised Erica’s mental health challenges to a crisis. Through seeking treatment, Erica discovered the immense amount of strength in vulnerability, and she shares her story in the hopes of encouraging others to reach out for help and prioritize their mental health.

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Grace

Grace experienced anxiety in all aspects of her life, except when she was playing soccer. In spite of good treatment and consistent support, the stigma Grace felt around her mental health diagnoses compelled her to hide her feelings and strive for perfection. She reached a point where she realized seeking help again was the right call for her. Now, Grace knows the importance of taking care of her mental health instead of resisting it.

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Jordan

Depression and substance use led Jordan to attempt suicide in high school. He recently wrote a letter to his 18-year-old self. It included this message that he now shares with thousands of students every year, “Please just live for today because I promise tomorrow, and each day after, will get a little better.” His presentation is meant to inspire, educate and allow others to know they’re not alone.

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Kelly A.

Kelly hopes to help other young people cope positively with their internal thoughts, making sure they reflect the unconditional love that is in the world.

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Kelly B.

Kelly’s story is a vulnerable snapshot of her journey through the negative effects of perfectionism and living with bipolar disorder. She hopes it can inspire youth across her community to seek help for their mental health by finding their voices, establishing boundaries, and fostering positive self-worth.

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Kristen

Kristen proves it’s never too late or too early to get the help you need. She helps educate others in an effective manner to break the stigma around mental health and substance use disorder.

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Louis

Louis tried to hide his struggles through sports or theater, and stigma kept him from asking for help. Eventually, he turned to alcohol to cope, leading to deeper issues and dependency. Sharing his story is a significant part of Louis’ recovery. He hopes that his message will resonate with students, so they know they aren’t alone and it’s okay to reach out for help.

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Mallory

A lifelong competitor in athletics, Mallory eventually met an opponent where winning wasn’t the objective. By facing her mental health challenges, Mallory has learned how to be vulnerable and engage in healing. Today, Mallory uses her story to tell others their voice is powerful, they are allowed to be human, and healing does indeed exist.

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Morgan

Morgan wishes to pass along her story to give hope to others who may experience mental health challenges. She wants them to know that they are not alone, and recovery is possible.

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Muzna

From a young age Muzna has struggled with her intersectionality of identities. That lack of harmony led to anxiety, depression, and eventually a suicide attempt. Through therapy and positive coping skills, Muzna has found her healthy balance and shares her story to help people realize the beauty in one’s own life.

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Rylee

Rylee spent most of her life pretending to be fine and pushing through to appear strong. When it all became too much, she sought help. She shares her story in hopes that those listening know that they are not alone and understand that asking for help is not weak. Rylee knows it was the strongest thing she ever did.

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Sanjana

Striving for perfectionism quashed Sanjana’s real self and led to depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation. Today, she encourages audiences to believe they are enough no matter what, that support systems are necessary, and that there is always hope.

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Sarika

Sarika hopes to inspire others to accept themselves for who they are and to appreciate each and every quality they possess, regardless of social norms.

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Scott

Scott works to inspire others to climb out of the darkness and find the light in their lives.

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Wes

Wes always wanted to be perfect and accepted by others, even if it meant hiding his true emotions under the surface. Now living his authentic life, Wes hopes to inspire others to feel less ashamed of their own mental health challenges and find a way to validate themselves.

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Program Facilitators

Samantha Ariza, LPC

Samantha is a licensed professional counselor and an EMDR trained therapist. She started her professional career as a teacher in different urban school districts, which ignited a passion for help others.

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Camila R. Azuero, LICSW, MA

Camila is a trauma therapist and clinical consultant who has a private practice and holds a teaching appointment at Harvard Medical School. She enjoys supporting children to develop skills to understand and support their emotions. Camila presents in Spanish and English.

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Lianna Chong, MA, MTS

Lianna Chong is passionate about helping the helpers and envisions a future where educators and human service providers have the supports needed to sustain their professional calling.

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Jenna DiLossi, Psy.D., ABPP

Dr. DiLossi is a specialist in Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) and currently serves as the co-founder and clinical director of the Center for Hope & Health, LLC., an outpatient treatment center that delivers specialized evidence-based treatment and training for eating disorders, body image, OCD, PTSD, phobias, and other anxiety-related concerns

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Patricia Ehret, M.Ed., CAPP

Patty Ehret has a Master’s in Education with a certification in Positive Education.  She began her 30-year Health and Physical Education career in the elementary level, then moved to middle school and spent the last 25 years at the high school level.  Her passion for the mental health of her students developed as many of her students began to open up about their depression and anxiety. 

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Sara Eldridge, LCSW

Sara Eldridge, LCSW, is a trauma therapist. Sara received a master’s degree in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in 2015. In 2021, she completed a two-year integrated trauma studies program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. For the last several years, Sara has served as a domestic violence counselor and assistant director at Barrier Free Living.

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Fabian Escobedo, LCSW

Fabian Escobedo comes to Minding your Mind with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University. He is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing psychotherapy to teens, young adults, and their families in both English and Spanish.

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Sheila Gillin, LCSW

Sheila is a licensed social worker and a certified child and adolescent psychotherapist with over fifteen years of experience in the mental health field.

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Morgan Hannaleck, ASW

Morgan received her master’s degree from Simmons University in Social Work. She has worked with youth and adolescents in both inpatient and outpatient settings, which has given her a perspective on various levels of care.

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Marissa Harris, MS, LPC

Marissa received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Delaware where she developed a passion for helping youth cope with life’s challenges. She attended Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine where she earned a Master’s in Counseling and Clinical Health Psychology.

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Melissa Harrison, LPC

Melissa is a licensed clinician with extensive experience with anxiety and eating disorders. In addition to speaking with Minding Your Mind since 2015, she co-founded the Center for Hope and Health in 2014 where she is a specialist in evidence-based treatment, primarily Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

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Guy J. Iacono

Guy Iacono is a licensed psychotherapist. After overcoming adversity in his younger years, Guy decided to use his life experience to help others. He attended Saint Joseph’s University where he studied sociology and philosophy and eventually went on to earn a Master’s in social work from Monmouth University.

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Alona Leviner-Sommer, MA, MS, LMFT

Alona is a Florida Licensed Marriage and Family psychotherapist. Alona’s passion in all her undertakings is the focus on children’s and teens’ well-being. Her clinical and psychoeducational approach is based on effective, non-judgmental, positive reinforcement and strength-based modalities.

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Suzelle Marques, LPC

Suzelle is a licensed professional counselor and a certified Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral therapist. She formerly worked at various outpatient mental health centers, and in a variety of school settings, providing individual counseling and additional support services to various age groups.

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Rebecca McDermott, LMFT

Rebecca received her master’s degree from Chestnut Hill College and gained clinical experience at Center for Families and Relationships in Northeast Philadelphia, and in Horsham Clinic’s partial hospitalization programs for children/adolescents and adults.

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Jon Mattleman

Across all of his work, Jon brings warmth, understanding, and patience…plus a healthy dose of humor! In his over 35 years of experience as a therapist and presenter, clients have felt comforted by his ability to acknowledge that the challenges they face are complex – and often downright exhausting!

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Catelin McCarriston, LCSW

Catelin McCarriston is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She holds a B.S. in Psychology, B.A. in Philosophy, and a Masters in Social Work from Simmons University. Catelin comes to Minding Your Mind with an extensive background working with children and adolescents across various school settings.

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Linda Price, M.Ed., CAGS, LEP, E-RYT

Linda has more than 25 years of experience working with schools and families. Her presentations address topics in mindfulness, trauma-informed social emotional learning, mental health, and anxiety.

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Mollye Readinger-Scott

Mollye has been facilitating retreats and workshops for over 20 years. She holds a B.A in Communications from Temple University and an M.S. in Pastoral Counseling from Neumann University. Mollye is also a certified co-active coach and a Facilitator of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator.

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Andrew Reigle, M.Ed.

Andrew’s goal is to spread his story of hope and resilience through effecting change at the systemic level. Under his leadership, more than ten emotional support, clinical support, and integrated mental health treatment programs have been strengthened, developed and/or implemented in Philadelphia and across the surrounding five counties.

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Martha Renza

Martha Renza is an empathetic social worker who has substantial experience working with couples, children, and families. She presents in both English and Spanish.

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Alison Siersdale, LICSW

Alison received her Master of Social Work from Boston College. In addition to Minding Your Mind, she currently operates her own private practice, providing psychotherapy to parents, families, and those hoping to become parents.

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Jonie M. Steward, Ph.D., NCC

Dr. Steward is a National Certified Counselor and holds a Master’s in School Counseling from the University of Holy Cross. She was a school counselor for five years before transitioning to the post-secondary level as an Assistant Professor.

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Alex Swanson, ACSW

Alex Swanson is an Associate Clinical Social Worker with experience in complex trauma, human trafficking, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.

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Kimm Topping, Ed.M.

For over ten years, Kimm has worked closely with schools and organizations on creating more inclusive, liberatory spaces for all LGBTQ+ youth to thrive. Prior to founding Lavender Education, Kimm managed the Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students in Massachusetts and taught courses on gender and sexuality at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Cheryl Walker, MS, LMHC

Cheryl is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who received her B.S. in Psychology, with a minor in Child Psychology, and M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of North Florida.

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Mindfulness Instructors

Brandon R. Everett

Brandon was first introduced to mindfulness while working as a Registered Nurse in a bustling inner city Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

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Stacey Mandel, CMT-P, MA

Stacey serves as the Pennsylvania facilitator for Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully (COSEM). She is particularly passionate about sharing mindfulness concepts with those who feel the most challenged. “If I had been exposed to these concepts starting around age eight, I know I would have suffered a lot less, and shined a whole lot more,” shares Stacey.

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Kristin Page, M.S. Ed., E-RYT

Kristin Page was introduced to meditation and the cultivation of stillness when she was a child. After a lifetime of employing these skills through her everyday life, she formalized her practice of Mindfulness Meditation.

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Mary Ruth Thompson

Mary Ruth began her wellness journey 15 years ago through practicing yoga. The practice brought increased strength, balance, and a keener awareness of the mind-body connection. She has been trained and certified as a yoga teacher and a mindfulness meditation instructor, sharing her knowledge with students of all ages.

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Like all the young people who’ve found support through Minding Your Mind, we too can’t do this without help. With a tax-deductible gift, you can help us share the message of mental wellness with more students and communities.

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