Advisory Council


2022-2023 Directing Change Youth Council

The Youth Council supports Directing Change by providing youth perspectives and serving as ambassadors for the program. Congratulations to our 2022-2023 Youth Council members!

Honey Leigh Aguilar
Sacramento County
“I believe that mental health is an issue that is not often discussed because it is a fragile subject to talk about even with close friends and family members. I want to see a future where people can feel comfortable talking about their emotions and heavy baggage.”

Daisy Bateman
Orange County
“I joined the Directing Change Youth Council because I want to help more people feel normal for feeling their feelings. I am a student at American University in DC and am pursuing a degree in Justice and Law with a minor in Criminology. I’m also part of my school’s board of directors of our debate society and an assistant to the diversity director of my school’s Kennedy Political Union. I play seven instruments and have been in five different ensembles over the last four years, ranging from jazz bands to orchestras. I also was part of my high school’s track team and was a captain of it for two years. I was also part of my school’s Hope Squad for four years and was third place in the state of CA in our Directing Change competition in junior year.”

Afton Lossing
Riverside County
“I was first introduced to this program five years ago by my first film teacher. Now that I have graduated from high school and still want to be involved with the program, I have decided to serve on the council. Directing Change combines two aspects of my life that have always been important to me: making films and promoting mental health awareness.”

Samantha Mar
Orange County
“Being involved in film has always been one of my proudest art forms, as it’s always been the easiest way for me to express my passion and emotions. Getting to work with others, collaborating and expressing our love for film together is such a special experience. I’ve learned so much from my peers and instructors through the years, and getting to represent young filmmakers (who all share one similar goal) is truly uplifting and honorable. In my final years of high school, I want to help make an impact, inspire, and encourage other young filmmakers to always put their heart into their work. Being on the Directing Change Youth Council will not only allow me to be more involved with the film community (through collaborative effort) but will be such a special experience for me to be inspired and encouraged by. I want to help make a difference for young filmmakers and I hope that they will continue to be inspired to make a difference.”

Angelica Muñoz
Riverside County
“Film has always been a passion of mine. When I submitted for Directing Change last year I was so excited to create my film, ‘Vergüenza.’ As someone who struggles with mental health I value what Directing Change does to to bring awareness to suicide prevent and mental health.”

Preston Poutre
San Bernardino County
“I am currently in the honors film program at my high school and in the current theatre production, and I enjoy telling stories through film. Mental health is an ongoing and increasing issue that I believe should be acknowledged more and especially among youth. Even though people are aware of suicide, it is an issue many people don’t recognize the importance of, and mental health is a big part of that. I would love to help in any way I can to give help to those who need it.”

Isabella Quezada
Los Angeles County
“Growing up I have always been very passionate about film, I would film ‘movies’ on my iPad and create backdrops and sets out of sheets and chairs. I love learning new things and sharing that love with people. Mental health awareness is something that I find very important and something that I believe is often overlooked. If we do not take care of our mental health how can we take care of all of the other things in our lives? I would love to help find new resources and connect people. I had such a great time and fun experience creating the mental health matters short film earlier this year, I would love to help other students learn how to get more opportunities like this and develop their passions!”

Vanessa Ramos
Los Angeles County
“I joined the Youth Council because I truly believe Directing Change is an important resource for everyone to be aware of. I had the opportunity to submit for 2021-2022, Directing Change Mental Health Matter category, and this has taught and awarded me more about mental health. Mental health is an important topic to be talked about and as part of the Youth Council, I’m committed to informing others about the importance of mental health.”

Ruby Schultz
Orange County
“Directing Change is a very good program and should be well known. I love what it stands for, and I love to motivate younger versions of me to pursue their interests while fighting for a cause they believe in.”

Grace Shao
Orange County
“Through the past two years, I have made several films for Directing Change, and each has been a tremendous learning experience. Not only did I learn technical skills like cinematography and editing, but I also grew my storytelling skills. Most importantly, however, I gained a better understanding of mental illness and mental health as a whole, and learned how to better support friends and peers through their struggles. From the very beginning, Directing Change gave us the resources to be successful, which allowed my team to tell the important stories of our community and create impactful pieces for change. The community I have gained has also been invaluable. I am still in touch with filmmakers from different schools whose films I was moved by, and I continue to collaborate with them. I am now in college studying Communications, and continuing my work with mental health advocacy on campus. It is deeply exciting to have this opportunity, and as I learn, my determination to advocate for mental health support only strengthens.”

Karen Soares
Los Angeles County
“I feel that being on the Directing Change Youth Council will allow me to spread resources to those who are suffering in silence, especially minorities such as members of the LGBTQ+ community, POC, and be a voice for the many children and teenagers who are silenced everyday by their teachers, peers, parents, and even themselves. Ever since I was six years old, I have wanted to change the world. I believe that being on the Directing Change Youth Council will allow me to make an imprint on this world, in one way or another.”

Kaser Winn
Sacramento County
“Serving on the Directing Change Youth Council is an amazing opportunity to further serve my community and spread awareness surrounding the ever relevant topic of mental health. I look forward to participating in community engagement and peer exchanges in hopes to destigmatize discussion of mental illness and help those in need.”

Naya Winn
Sacramento County
“I first became aware of Directing Change when my school counselor introduced me to the annual film contest. The process of researching and filming my video piqued my interest in how society can connect with young people about stressors and coping mechanisms as they relate to mental health. Directing change has so many unique opportunities for youth to engage with each other through various modalities. Being part of the youth council will allow me to share my unique perspective in an authentic way and connect to my community. I also hope to learn more avenues to reach students at my own school since mental health is an issue that needs more recognition and support.”

2022-2023 Adult Advisory Council

Thank you to our Adult Advisory Council for your invaluable insight, feedback, and collaboration!

Sue Abito

Volunteer Services Coordinator
San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health

Jessica Bell
Senior Program Coordinator

Kenny Bowman
Twin Lakes – Mountain View School District, Los Angeles County

Christina Castro
Wellness Center Student Assistance Program (SAP) Counselor
Ramona High School, Riverside County

Noelle D.W. Chandler
Arts Program Specialist
Merced County Office of Education

Brad Clark
Animation & Media Production Teacher
Franklin High School, Sacramento County

Derrick Davis
Film Production Teacher
Clovis High School, Fresno County

Marcus Dyson
Arts, Media, & Entertainment Teacher
The Bayshore School, San Mateo County

Alex Graham
Art of Film/Television • Advanced Media Tech/Film Ed • Broadcast • Career Focus: Arts Teacher
Canyon High School, Orange County

Diana Gutierrez, LMFT LPCC

Administrative Services Manager
Riverside University Health System – Behavioral Health

Sara Hills
Cinematic Arts & Broadcast Journalism Program Teacher
Claremont High School, Tri-City (Los Angeles County)

Katherine Kasmir
Executive Director
BRITE / Reality Improv Connection Inc., Ventura County

Tamara Kirkpatrick
Visual and Performing Arts Teacher
Claremont High School, Tri-City (Los Angeles County)

Lisa Krch
Video Production Instructor
Kern High School, Kern County

Renee Linares
Program Specialist II, Public Relations and Outreach
County of San Bernardino Behavioral Health

Carrie Manning
Behavioral Health Supervising Clinical Specialist
Lake County Behavioral Health Services

Andrea Martin
Lincoln Street School, Tehama County

Melanie Merkner
Peer Support Coordinator
Vintage High School, Napa County

Lisa Naranjo
MHSA Program Supervisor – PEI
Tri-City Mental Health (Los Angeles County)

Sonia Navarro

Program Manager
San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health

Brittany Nguyen
Stigma Reduction / Suicide Prevention
Tri-City Mental Health (Los Angeles County)

Rebecca Pollack
Creative Writing Teacher
Marin School of the Arts, Marin County

Sonia Rubio
Program Manager – Prevention and Early Intervention
County of San Bernardino Behavioral Health

Mark Switzer
Digital and Media Arts Academy Coordinator and Instructor – Video Production and Broadcasting
El Dorado High School, Orange County

Jackie Valadez
Career Technical Education
Southeast High School, Imperial County

If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
Directing Change is part of statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
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