The FACES Youth Advisory Council is comprised of FACES students, both current and alumni, who represent each of the programs within our national coalition. The purpose of the Council is to create a platform for young people to express their perspectives and experiences and advocate on behalf of youth. Youth voice is an integral aspect of FACES for the Future Coalition’s work – and hearing from young people helps us to provide relevant, innovative programming that matters to our students.
Click HERE to see a message from our 2020-2021 Youth Advisory Council
Click HERE to see a message from our 2019-2020 Youth Advisory Council
Introducing our 2020-2021 Youth Advisory Council
My name is Geremi Escobar, I am 18 years old and I am a senior at San Leandro High School. I was born and raised in El Salvador, this is a beautiful country, and it has a lovely and very rich culture. My time growing up in El Salvador was great and I loved how in the neighborhood I lived, everyone knew and helped each other in some way. My childhood was full of amazing people that have made me how I am today and whose impact on my life has been tremendous. Every part of El Salvador was great, except for the poverty level and the dangerous criminals.
My passion for the medical field has always been there in one way or another. As a kid, I was often sick and when I was around five, I was diagnosed with scarlet fever, which here in the U.S., although very rare has no major effects on patients. Given that when I was diagnosed at age five, and living in El Salvador where the healthcare system is mediocre. Although the bacterial infection was painful and long, I had the opportunity to get treatment. Since the infection got to a point that wasn’t ‘safe’, the doctors told my mom that there was a possibility that it could affect me in the long term, and that I could possibly not live past 18 years – that has stuck with me since the day I heard my mom talking about it with my aunt. Because I have been able to live a happy and somewhat healthy life since then, and given the impact that, that phase of my life had on me; I would love to have the same impact on other people’s lives. Another reason why I love the medical field is because my mom was also part of a labor union that belonged to one of the most influential hospitals, and her job was to travel around the country visiting different hospitals, and yes, I would travel with her and visit different hospitals in the country and learned about the way they worked. I also was able to meet different doctors along the way.
In my junior year of high school, I was part of ROP Medical Careers. Being a part of ROP offered the opportunity to join FACES for the Future (FACES). The reason I joined FACES is because during the presentation given by Ms. Reatha and Ms. Kimberly, they offered various resources to become a better student and help me develop skills that are essential in the medical field. Also, they offered a couple of other activities that caught my eye such as internships and the Gross Anatomy lab. These activities and resources were the determining factors for my choice to join FACES.
I decided to join the FACES Youth Advisory Council because I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and develop skills that could help me in my future, such as leadership and public speaking. As well as meeting people that work in the field or that have more experience in it. Another reason why I decided to join the council is that I wanted to help the FACES community in any way and if that is through giving my opinion and suggestions, then I am glad I can help.
My name is Arlet Alvizo and I’m a senior. I’m Mexican and Nicaraguan, born and raised in the Bay Area. I became interested in health professions at a very young age. I always appreciated the medical professionals who did their best to make me feel comfortable when I was scared and anxious. Growing up, I knew I wanted to give back and help others. I became familiar with the FACES for the Future (FACES) program because of my older sister, she joined FACES her junior year and was always coming home with interesting stories about her experience at St. Rose Hospital. I also decided to join the FACES Youth Advisory Council for the fact that I enjoy advocating for others who are shy to speak up and I also believe I can be a great asset for the council. With this opportunity I hope to gain more communication skills, learn and gain knowledge from the workers that are behind the scenes helping the FACES program function.
Gabriela Morales Silva
My name is Gabriela and I go by Gabby, I am from Denver, CO. I’m an 11th grader from Manual high school. I am currently 16 years old; I was born on November 6th, 2003. I grew up here in Denver my whole life and was raised here in Cole neighborhood or as some call it the east side of Denver. My favorite hobbies are baking, reading, drawing, and writing.
I became interested in the FACES program and health professions because of my family, I have always had their support on becoming involved with the medical field and growing up. I created my own path and goals to better guide me on what I have to do to become a plastic surgeon. I am passionate and enthusiastic to learn about this career and explore other careers related to medicine because who knows what I decide at the end, it doesn’t hurt to try.
Once I heard that FACES created a Youth Advisory Council where students get to share their ideas on how to better help our classmates by giving good feedback to improve the program; I decided to join because I like these kinds of jobs where I get to put in a good word to better the program, especially since it can be difficult to adjust to virtual learning. I decided that I should take place to not just better this for me but for my fellow classmates.
I hope to improve my skills, leadership, and social skills as a member of the Youth Advisory. I hope I can help anyone who is struggling or even try to better something that can help us all in class and the FACES program.
My name is Kathy Pham and I am a junior at Hoover High School. I am from San Diego, born and raised. Some of my interests include volleyball and being involved in my community. I am interested in different health professions because of the diverse opportunities. In any type of health profession, I am able to alleviate people of hardships that could deteriorate their mental health. FACES for the Future has given me insight into the different possibilities. I joined the FACES Youth Advisory Council because this is a way for me to contribute back. I hope to gain better communication skills, specifically over Zoom.
Umulkheir Sharif Ali
My name is Umulkheir Sharif Ali. I am currently a junior at Hoover High school. I am originally from Kenya, Mombasa and came to the United States about 5 years ago. I am a shy person, and I love to cook/bake and watch Netflix. I became interested in the health professions based on 2 reasons. The first one being my interest in it. Growing up, I always found the job of a doctor so rewarding. The fact of being able to help so many people feel better and just developing close bonds with them is a goal that I would like to work towards in my life. The second reason, I’ve been wanting to open up a practice in my home country and being able to be any kind and helpful to the people who are underrepresented there. A lot of people back in my home country lack some of the privileges that we’re lucky to have here in the United States and I would like to give back to them. I became interested in the FACES for the Future program, when I saw all the opportunities and help that it was going to provide me, it felt nice that it was composed of people that had the same aspirations and goals as me. That was part of the reason why I joined the FACES Youth Advisory Council. I felt it was going to help me get one foot out of the door and help me work towards my goal. I also joined it based on the experience that it would give me and how a promising council like this would look on my resume and would help me when I am applying to colleges. Something I hope to gain from this experience is that I hope to better some of my skills such as my collaboration skills by working with others that share the same interest as me. I often like to work independently and I hope through this program, I become more comfortable in working with others. I also hope to improve on my critical thinking skills by working on issues going around my community and most of all, I just want to try and enjoy this one in a lifetime opportunity and get the most out of it as I can. I am so excited to start on this journey.
My name is Issa Muse, I am currently a senior at Crawford High School. I was born and raised in San Diego, California. I grew up in City Heights which is located in central San Diego. I am interested in learning about the medical field because it has been a dream of mine to one day become a Doctor. I am very interested in the health profession because when I was younger, I would get sick very easily which caused me to go to the hospital a lot, I would always enjoy how the nurses and doctors made me feel very safe, I hope to one day provide that very feeling to other sick children. I joined the FACES Youth Advisory Council to further my knowledge in the medical field, and train me to one day be a face for the future. I am hoping to gain enough experience, and knowledge to help me guide my future as becoming the #1 Doctor.
My name is Kayla Herrera and I was born and raised in the Bay Area in California. I am currently a second-year student attending UCLA and I hope to become a future OBGYN or a physician focused on women’s or LGBTQ health. I have always enjoyed caring for people, so I’ve been interested in the health profession since I was young. I think the FACES experience has brought me so much opportunity and has really given me professional experiences that have shaped and created my future goals in the health field. I joined the FACES Youth Advisory Council in order to help expand and grow the FACES community as an alumnus. I hope to find more ways to bring those very personal and unique experiences to other current FACES students.
Ya’aat’eeh, Taejonon Denetclaw da’shi’jini, Kiyaa’aanii nishli, bitaahni baashashchiin, adoo’ tabahii’ da’shi’cheii, ashii’hii da’shi’nali. (Hello, my name is Taejonon Denetclaw, I am from the tower house people clan and I am born for the folded-arms people clan.) I am Diné (widely known as “Navajo”; this name was given to the people of the Navajo Nation by the U.S. Government), the language I just type in is called Navajo, in Diné would be referred to as Diné bi’zaad. Currently, I am a Sophomore, full-time student at the University of New Mexico. I am from Gallup, NM. I grew up in Albuquerque, NM so I know a majority of the streets and backroads of Albuquerque, except the east-side that’s “wealthy-territory”, haha! I’m joking. I’ve been all over Albuquerque. I attended Native American Community Academy (NACA), starting as a middle schooler and now a second-year full-time student studying at UNM. The experience is what sparked my interest in the health-field. The unforgettable events, summits, training(s) through NACA Healing Peers Club, facilitated by Becki Jones from Planned Parenthood Education and Keioshiah Peters from Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW) supported me a lot. FACES for the Future internship was the second similar experience to NACA Healing Peers. Shadowing health-professionals allowed me to pick my mentors’ brains about their journey and career. Furthermore, going back to NACA healing peers, learning from Keioshiah and Becki what adequate sexual health education (SHE) looks like. We were eventually able to start the conversation, “what does SHE look like in our Dine/Indigenous community?”
I can say that the Navajo Nation is lacking resources to bring up and refine SHE. Due to location, folxs (folks) living in rural areas means no access to those resources, the result is a historical trauma cycle. Those circumstances create health risks that add to issues/ problems in Indigenous communities (that are known to high rates of poverty, STIs, and suicide). So, to have the privilege of access to SHE, a safe space to conjure ideas, and connect with others. That is a space I want my relatives and every student growing and learning in America. All of this contributes to my main passion-to pursue higher education in health education, dental school, tribal law/ health policy, and an interest in economics. Overall, I am guided by the support from my Indigenous relatives, mutual, queer relatives, and Shi’ma (my mom) to accomplish my goals, for me and my people’s holistic well-being. “Think seven generations ahead.” – an elder. I joined the FACES YAC hoping to connect with other individuals who have a similar mindset to mine, always analyzing behaviors and social constructs, and/ or have experienced or observed first-hand: the day-to-day struggles minorities face while actively pushing through those instilled-social-barriers that were set in place by colonizers (e.g. Anglo-Americans, Europeans, Spaniards, etc.). I am hoping to connect with other like-minded individuals in order to build a network of health-related colleagues. I am interested in the health-field but I know that if I were to pursue that route it would require a lot of time and commitment. Unfortunately, that is not what I am ready for at the moment, so me asking questions pertaining to experience is valuable to me. After experiencing two-years of college and isolation due to the pandemic I was able to reflect on my life, thinking about what I want to pursue as a career/ profession(s).
Quynh Vo is an alumnus of the 2017 BHSU FACES Oakland program. She was born in Vietnam but immigrated to the United States at the age of seven. Her family relocated to East Oakland, where she attended Oakland Technical High School and participated in the Health Academy to pursue opportunities in health and medicine. Quynh is a first-generation college student. She is finishing up her Bachelor of Science degree as a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major in Psychobiology and a minor in Film. She is currently in the process of applying for a Master of Arts Psychology Program.
At present, Quynh works at the UCLA Grand Depression Challenge where she helps create content for the STAND program as an animator, video editor, and graphic designer. She also works as a research assistant for the UCLA QUIT-mobile Study, where she is currently helping with the launch of the mobile-based app. Quynh is also actively involved in leadership at her university. She is currently the president of the UCLA Dragon Boat club sports as well as serving as the Public Relations Director for Alternative Breaks at UCLA.
During her sophomore year of high school, she was exposed to the field of mental health while watching a Korean tv drama about a psychiatrist. Ever since then, she knew she wanted to have a career in the mental health profession. She participated in the BHUS program to broaden her knowledge of the career choices she had within the mental health field. By participating in the workshops, tours, and training that the BHUS provided, she was able to hone down her career choices and improve her personal career goals. This year, she joined the FACES Youth Council as a way to give back to the FACES program. She hopes to use her past experience to make further improvements to the wonderful experience she had. Overall, she hopes to learn from the experiences of her fellow youth advisors as well.
My name is Lilian Quijada Madrid and I’m currently a third year pursuing a degree in Public Health, following the Premed pathway. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have lived in San Francisco my entire life. In the future, I hope to become the first person in my family to have graduated college and become a doctor. I’ve known that I wanted to pursue a career in the health field ever since I was little but knew I had to seek out internship opportunities to get one step closer to achieving my goal, and that’s where FACES for the Future came in. As a former high school student, the FACES for the Future program gave me my first real exposure into the medical field which I will always be grateful for. With being a part of the FACES youth advisory council, I hope to gain a better understanding of the health field, build strong interpersonal relationships with the people I work with, and ultimately give back to my community by encouraging others to always go after their dreams.
My name is Monica Hernandez, I am from the Bay Area, born and raised in Oakland, California. I am 19 years old and a graduate from San Leandro High school. I have always wanted to be involved in the medical field since I was a little girl, I remember I would always want the toy doctor kits to play with. I know I want to be in the medical field because it is so rewarding to see patients leave the hospital cured, and it’s very heartwarming to me that I could be the reason why patients go to their house with a smile on their face. I joined FACES for the Future so that I could get more exposure into the medical professions,FACES for the Future helped me realize there are so many wonderful pathways I could take! I was a FACES intern, being a FACES intern has helped me realize that I belong in the medical field helping others and putting a smile on people’s faces. There are so many opportunities out in the world that we need to accept and take on with us, the FACES program has helped me understand that there are people who truly care about our future and are here to guide us in every step of the way! I would be a first generation going into the medical field and it is challenging because I don’t have anyone who can answer my doubts or guide me through the way and that’s where this program comes in handy, they make sure you have the proper structure to move forward and there are available to guide you, inspire you, and watch you grow!
I joined the FACES Youth Advisory Council because this is such a wonderful, and helpful program that needs so much recognition. This program can help so many people accomplish their dream career in the medical field. Also, because when I was an intern I got to experience and be a part of a voice project which was about a triggering moment in your life that helped you grow, and know your classmates not just from the outside but also from the inside. It was a wonderful experience because it was such a safe environment and everyone was very supportive and some of us who participated would have never thought we had to deal with triggering moments like that and overcome it. I hope to be able to spread the word about the FACES program and help many others just how it helped me get on track and have the proper resources I need to pursue my medical field interests.