We are excited to announce that the Alameda County Behavioral Health Collaborative has awarded the Leslie Preston Memorial Scholarship to two 2022 FACES graduates: Emma Bracamontes and Adia Jallali. Emma and Adia graduated from our FACES South Alameda County Public Health Youth Corps in May and are already passionate advocates for mental health in their community. We are grateful to the Alameda County Behavioral Health Collaborative for their generosity and partnership.
Leslie Preston was a staunch community advocate working in the field of mental and behavioral health who always brought mission to the forefront of every conversation. As Director of Behavioral Health at La Clinica de La Raza in Oakland, CA, Leslie was a partner in building a FACES program in the Fruitvale neighborhood; focused solely on supporting youth into community-based careers in behavioral health. Leslie was passionate about her work, her family and equity. She was the kind of person who drove those around her to want to be better, and she did this with compassion and heart. This scholarship is the Alameda Behavioral Health Collaborative’s way of remembering and honoring Leslie’s life and legacy.
Emma Bracamontes is one of the recipients of the Leslie Preston Memorial Scholarship in 2022. Emma says that losing several of her peers to suicide, as well as her own lived experiences with mental health challenges, led to her interest in pursuing a mental health profession. She writes, “I am a firm believer in the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s mission to “make mental health first-aid as commonplace as C.P.R.” . . . I’ve always loved lending a wholehearted and empathetic listening ear to those who need it, and becoming mental health first-aid certified has given me an effective and rewarding way to do so.”
Adia Jallali is another recipient of the Leslie Preston Memorial Scholarship in 2022. Adia hopes to become a Nurse Practitioner with a special focus on mental and behavioral health. She writes, “Being Afghan, mental health is not talked about enough and it is usually undermined in importance. Afghans facing mental health challenges are often scared to speak out in fear of not being understood or feeling judged. Others do not have sufficient information about it and are not properly educated leaving us confused and worried about our mental health. I want to pursue this career so I can provide adequate care and aid to anyone regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, and to reinforce the fact that mental health is important and it’s normal to struggle with it.”