Meet Our CAYEN Board
Zofia Trexler, Fresno County
Zofia Trexler currently resides in Fresno and is a senior in high school. Her interest in mental health started with her own struggles, which began her freshman year. Her experiences in the mental health system sparked a desire to create change and address the inadequacies in the care she and others deal with today. She believes that youth voice is important in mental health advocacy because it is oftentimes excluded from conversations surrounding care and services. She believes that decades of policy experience are not necessary to facilitate and create the change needed within our communities. She has advocated for her community as a writer for The kNow Youth Media, a youth multimedia journalism program in the Central Valley. Zofia is also part of a collective of youth leaders from around Fresno who uplift youth voice and empower them to be part of electoral politics. Zofia is excited to be a CAYEN Board member and hopes to create and expand mental health advocacy throughout California.
Young Advocate, Sacramento County
This young advocate is 22 years old from Los Angeles California but they currently live in Sacramento. They first started working in the mental health field as an LGBTQ+ mental health trainer. They want to help make “a difference in the way mental health is perceived” through policy and by reducing stigma that surrounds mental health so they “can better the lives of others, including myself.” They are an active member in their community working with individuals who have lived experience with foster care, homelessness, mental health struggles, and those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Currently they are a peer counselor, a student, and serve as Co-President for the CAYEN Board. On their free time they also enjoy spending time with people, skateboarding, and expressing mental health through art. They believe that youth voice is important because of the experiences they go through, “decision makers don’t know the struggles and issues we face unless it is brought to light” but first they have to be given that opportunity and space. This young advocate wants to let other TAY know that they “are a LGBTQ+ person of color, who was in the foster care system, and has mental health struggles, statistics say I won’t succeed but my plan is to be resilient through any trials or tribulations that might come my way.”
Lorne Wood, Los Angeles County
Lorne Wood is from Los Angeles County and has been working in mental health for more than eight years. Growing up he spent his childhood in foster homes and group homes throughout Los Angeles County. During his youth he had a total of 14 placements over the course of 7 years. This was a difficult time in his life but found help from a wraparound team, which is a service approach that pairs youth with a team of therapeutic supports. His lived experience with depression and anxiety inspired him to begin a career in the mental health field. Lorne has helped his community as a TAY peer mentor and, now, as a peer training specialist. His advocacy efforts, as a peer training specialist, is to teach and implement evidence-supported practices at sites across the United States. He helps sites create and build peer programs where people with lived experience can provide support and services to youth in an effective and safe way. Lorne as a CAYEN board member wants to advocate for better conditions for youth experiencing mental health struggles and youth in foster care.
Amanda Aguilar (AJ), Yolo County
CAYEN Co-Vice President
Amanda (AJ) Aguilar uses writing as a tool of advocacy to bring awareness to the stories of the invisible, underserved, and marginalized communities. As a member of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, a tribe in Central California, she advocates for her community and uplifts the voice of Native Americans in California. She has her Bachelor’s with a focus in creative writing and journalism from the University of California Davis. Her experience in writing extends both locally and internationally, having her work featured on local Native Activism in Sacramento to interviews with philanthropists implementing universal basic income experiments in Kenyan Villages. As a CAYEN board member, AJ wants to use her lived experience with the California mental health system to bring change and uplift the voices of Natives and other marginalized communities.
Morgan Nguyen, Los Angeles County
Morgan is 16 years old from Lancaster, California. She is currently a junior in High School and takes courses at her local Community College. She grew up as a competitive gymnast but was severely injured and had to step away from the sport. The injury led to a new interest, mental health, which plays an important role in her life today. As a young teenager Morgan says she “knows what it feels like to be silenced when it comes to the subject of mental health.” As a CAYEN Board member she wants to give teenagers and young adults a voice. She is a passionate individual who wants to end the stigma of mental health. Through art she believes that youth can advocate for their mental health needs and struggles because “art can portray a real, in-depth, point of view for youth’s lived experience.”
Eboni Stallworth, Sacramento County
Eboni Stallworth currently resides in Sacramento, CA, and grew up in various parts of the Bay area. Living throughout the East and North Bay, Vallejo, and Cordelia throughout their youth. Eboni became hyper-aware of how changes in one’s environment (moving, shifting family dynamics, regaining, or losing access to resources) can have an impact on one’s mental health. However, it was hobbies, such as knitting, crochet, and writing which became their passion and were with them wherever they traveled. On a community level, Eboni became passionate about Black Queer Trans individuals mental health and developing pathways for marginalized communities as a whole. They recognize the importance and lack of these communities having access to affirming employers, community supports, and spaces where they can express themselves. Eboni’s experience as a volunteer at the Lavender Library, The LGBT+ Center, and as a former Youth Impact Hub and Pollination Project Fellow opened their eyes to the needs of communities often erased from mental health spaces. Communities like those who are displaced and or undocumented. Eboni’s work began to shift toward amplifying those voices as well as bringing awareness to the needs of communities Eboni resides within. They believe that policy work impacts who gets access and how that access is provided, and so they hope that as a CAYEN member and community advocate they can make a positive impact on other’s lives. Eboni’s goal to empower peers and younger youth to cultivate the lives they seek to have through community work and policy work.
Sneha Mehta, Placer County
Independence Taylor, Sacramento County
Independence currently resides in Sacramento, California, and has experience going through the mental health system. Their advocacy started through self-education and education for their peers in the mental health system, like steps to recovery and information on conditions, because the system failed to provide these for them. Independence’s advocacy continued as a youth leader in policy work with the Sacramento County Community Solutions Network, which focused on uplifting community mental health needs. In addition, they advocated at the state level supporting SB-252, a bill that would make GED free for homeless youth. Over the years, their advocacy and policy work has focused on homeless youth, LGBTQ youth, and the intersection of LGBTQ homeless youth. Over the last 9 years, Independence has worked with The Gender Health Center to support the blossoming transgender community in Sacramento. Independence has provided education to schools, medical students, parents, and non-profit organizations about the LGBTQ and transgender experience. Independence as a CAYEN member and community advocate wants to ensure all transition-age youth have access to the resources they need to survive. Independence believes mental wellness can’t be reached without addressing issues like youth homelessness, being behind on rent, having food-insecurities, and facing discrimination in existing services. They believe “youth voice is important to guiding policies and services” because they can fill in the gaps and ensure youth wellness. Independence wants to use their experiences to guide their work and empower the voices and stories from their community that generally don’t make it to the decision-making spaces.
Riana Jane Youngken, Riverside County
Riana Jane Youngken is from Southern California and a graduate from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainability and Social Justice. She became interested in mental health advocacy and policy when her individual struggles brought light to the systemic issues that exist in our world today. During her time as an undergraduate she became interested in issues like climate change, colonialism, social injustice, and poverty and how they impact people at the individual/every-day level. She began to teach topics centered on the Filipino-identity and –history in America as an educator for Pin@y, an organization dedicated to uplifting the voice of the Filipinx community in San Francisco. As a CAYEN board member she wants to uplift and bring the voices of marginalized youth to the center of mental health conversations and policy. As a Pinay (Filipina American), she knows that one’s cultural background plays an important role on both the perception of mental health and different, non-western, approaches to healing. As a Pinay, her experiences in navigating mental health issues don’t start with just her, but with the greater history of colonization and how it has shaped the physical and psychological makeup of her ancestral lineage. With this perspective in mind, her mental health advocacy is rooted in her identity as a Pinay, and her desire to see youth of all backgrounds find self-understanding and empowerment in their identities.
Mariel Mastrili, Sacramento County
Mariel Mastrili was born in the Philippines and moved to Sacramento when they were 10 years old. They currently work as Youth Employment Director with Waking the Village, a transitional living program for youth experiencing homelessness. Mariel is a graduate from The University of California Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. During the summer of their third year of college Mariel was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 22. Receiving this diagnosis was a life-changing moment and served as a catalyst for their passion for mental health advocacy and awareness. Mariel has used their platform to spread awareness on topics that society deems to be taboo. They wrote and directed a play on mental health awareness in the Pilipinx community, co-produced a play on anti-Blackness in the Pilipinx community, and participated in the production of R.A.W. ‘Cause I’m a Woman, a play challenging stereotypes about Asian women. They also have experience tutoring children with learning disabilities and neurodevelopmental disorders, which to this day continues to influence their work in mental health. They have navigated the broken mental health system and gained multiple perspectives from their personal and professional experiences. As a CAYEN board member, they want to advocate for change by starting those difficult conversations, so that resources can expand to all TAY and normalize mental illness within our society.
Xiaoyuan (Claire) Zhang, Alameda County
Xiaoyuan (Claire) Zhang is a fourth-year psychology major at the University of California Berkeley, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Psi Chi. She plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology/counseling after her undergraduate studies. Her interest in mental health started from her own lived experience dealing with an anxiety disorder while in high school. Soon after starting college, she began to notice that people around her were also struggling with mental health challenges but lacked support. This inspired her to start a student organization called “Mood Psychology at Berkeley,” which is dedicated to promoting psychological well-being for Berkeley students. Claire also volunteers as a crisis counselor with the Crisis Text Line in her spare time. As a CAYEN board member, she wants her advocacy to improve access to mental health resources (e.g., mental health education, counseling services) on high school and college campuses. She wants to connect her college’s student body to her community to generate awareness of mental health struggles and bring their voices to policy through CAYEN.
Yasmine Zahid, Sacramento County
Yasmine Zahid currently lives in Elk Grove and is in her second year of college. She grew up in the Bay Area and has been receiving mental health services from a young age. Her lived experiences with behavioral health services and mental illness have inspired her to become involved with CAYEN. She is also a tutor/mentor with TRIO Upward Bound and continues to advocate for First-Generation College students. She believes TAY needs a strong support system within the public school system to foster both emotional and academic growth. Outside of school and work, she enjoys writing, painting, and playing the piano. These creative outlets are also a source of inspiration and motivation for her work and schooling.