As part of its agenda to support the health and wellbeing of college students, the Mary Christie Foundation has launched a Young Adult Council, a group of students or recent graduates who are passionate about these issues. The growing list of members will serve as a thought leadership council, bringing the knowledge and insight of their college experiences to the Foundation’s work to share best practices and convene influencers in the area of student health and wellbeing.
The three inaugural Council members are: Kyle Bodge (University of Vermont ‘19), Molly Hawes (Brown University ‘17), and Yema Yang (Brown University ‘19).
All three are student leaders who have already made an impact on the health and wellness cultures on their campuses.
For two years, Bodge has lived in UVM’s Wellness Environment, a housing program dedicated to incentivizing healthy choices over high-risk behaviors through education. He also served as president of UVM Students for Disability Advocacy and Awareness.
Hawes and Yang have both served as peer mental health advocates with Project LETS (Let’s Erase The Stigma), a peer mentoring and advocacy group founded at Brown University. They helped plan the Ivy League Mental Health Conference this February.
Since her graduation in May, Hawes is now the Director of Expansion for Project LETS, working to bring the organization to more campuses across the country.
Yang has contributed to various Project LETS activities, including a high school mental health awareness program and a student mental health handbook.
Over the course of the year, the Council members will participate in Foundation meetings, contribute to the Mary Christie Quarterly, and give feedback on special projects, lending their perspective as college students on how administrators and policymakers can help improve student health and wellness on campus.
The Council will be chaired by Blair Ballard, a previous MCF Young Voices winner, and will be supported by Mary Christie Foundation staff members Dana Humphrey and Ashira Morris.
“Suffering from a mental illness as a college student comes with distinct challenges that administrators, faculty and on-campus providers are often unable to see or understand,” Ballard said. “Bringing the student perspective to the Foundation through the Young Adult Council will empower students to actively engage with our thought leaders to drive more effective changes to the way we support mental illness on campus.”