Meet the ’23-’24 Teen Advisory Council!

As a new school year begins, the OMM Team is happy to introduce the members of the 2023-24 Teen Advisory Council (TAC)! TAC allows high school students within the OMM network to enact change by providing input on OMM’s goals and program and communications strategies. After an application process, selected students serve on the Council and as a paid opportunity to grow professionally while leaving their mark on the future of teen mental health. 

This year, TAC will be implementing three new committees:

  1. Connection Committee — brainstorms and builds social connection between OMM club members through virtual meetings and events.
  2. Social Media & External Comms Committee — helps design social media content (such as teen highlights) and provides feedback on communication strategies from the OMM Team.
  3. Fundraising & Development Committee — shares OMM program impact with donors and designs OMM merch.

TAC 2023-24 has members representing schools in and outside of the DMV area. Read more about our 2023-24 TAC members and their interests below!: 

Gelila (She/Her)

Hello! I’m Gelila Solomon, a senior at Robinson Secondary School where I serve as a co-president of Rams Minds Matter (RMM). This will be my third year being involved in OMM! Some of my passions outside of the club include playing tennis, traveling, and playing the violin. I cannot express enough gratitude for the support OMM has given me and so many of my peers — encouraging us to have open conversations regarding mental health and demolish the stigma surrounding it. 

As a part of RMM leadership, it’s been such a privilege facilitating a safe and inclusive community; I am elated to carry on what I’ve learned these past years to reach diverse communities and support everyone within OMM! I am honored to have been selected to serve on the Teen Advisory Council this year and have the opportunity to collaborate with passionate and incredibly talented people to make a difference.

Mikayla (She/Her)

Hello, everyone! I’m Mikayla, a senior at Benjamin Banneker High School. On a typical day, I am busy with schoolwork and extracurricular activities (like Student Government Association and drama club), and I am also class president. But in my spare time, I love watching horror movies (I’m a big horror movie fan). I also enjoy listening to music, from 90’s throwbacks like Aaliyah to more recent R&B. And I enjoy traveling — from New York to the Bahamas to Costa Rica! I also hope to visit Dubai one day. 

But, overall, my main goal is to make sure that everyone has access to mental health resources and that people, especially from older generations, understand the importance of mental health.

Tyler (He/Him)

Hey! My name is Tyler Paloma and this is my third year as a part of Our Minds Matter; I am a first-year member of OMM’s Teen Advisory Council. I attend Edison High School in Alexandria, Virginia. This is my second year as an officer for Edison Minds Matter which has supported my passion for mental health advocacy. I work as a Team Leader at my local Chick-fil-A and some of my hobbies include reading and playing guitar. I am so excited to work closely with Our Minds Matter to further support mental health awareness for schools nationwide.

Arianna (She/Her)

Hi! My name is Arianna Santana and I am a 2023-24 senior at Tahlequah High School! I am a first-year TAC member and this will be my third year as a founder and president of my school’s OMM chapter! I am a dancer and teacher at my local dance studio and I am a student leader in multiple clubs at my school! 

Growing up in an area where mental health was surrounded by stigma has grown my passion to become an advocate for mental health. After beginning to speak out about mental health in my school and community, I have found so many others that are just as invested in defeating the stigma. From these past couple of years, I have found out that no one is ever alone, and I have learned so much about my own mental health struggles in the meantime! 

I can’t wait to spend this year growing even more and doing my very best to share this knowledge with so many more people! I am beyond ecstatic to be able to serve on this year’s Teen Advisory Council, and am honored to be able to create a better environment surrounding mental health together!

Marissa (She/Her)

Hi, I’m Rissa! I attend Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC). A couple things that make me, me: I’ve been working and learning more about mental health for 4 years now. My biggest motivation is my family — I want to be able to make my family proud and make sure they live happily. I got certified in Mental Health First Aid in 2022 and ever since then, I’ve used what I was taught every day.

Niya (She/Her)

Hey! I’m Niya Tripathi, a rising senior and president of my school’s OMM club, Uplift WJ. I’m dedicated to furthering teen mental health with the amazing people at OMM and my school’s club through activities like coat drives, bake sales, designing social media graphics, and using our school wellness room. I also enjoy getting involved in my general community, participating in initiatives such as the Montgomery County Study Circles Program for racial equity. 

Outside of advocacy, I love to dance hip-hop, bake various desserts like cinnamon rolls, go to Model UN conferences, and will never turn down a snuggle with my dogs. I’m very excited to enhance teen voices with OMM TAC this year.

Sean (He/Him)

Hi! I’m Sean Lewin, a rising senior at Meridian High School in Falls Church, Virginia. I am so honored to be a part of the Teen Advisory Council for Our Minds Matter this coming year! I co-founded my school’s chapter of OMM in my junior year, and I am nothing but excited to continue forward with our work at Meridian. OMM has marked such a monumental significance in my personal and educational lives, and contributing to making further connections with the OMM community through TAC is extremely exciting to me. 

Having experienced struggles with my mental health, including anxiety and depression, the work that OMM strives to complete is significant to me. The destigmatization of conversations surrounding mental health is life-saving and incredibly valuable, and contributing to positive change in conjunction with that notion is so deeply personal to me. I’m so excited to assist in integrating the teen voice into the progression of OMM’s work to normalize and assist in facilitating mental health conversations. 

Regarding additional academic endeavors, I am the student representative to my district’s at-large school board, student representative to the Falls Church Education Foundation, manage the girls’ lacrosse team, and participate in different forms of community service.

The OMM Team is so grateful and excited to be working with TAC 2023-24 — We can’t wait to see all that you accomplish as mental health champions! Be sure to be on the lookout for more updates regarding TAC and their projects ⭐