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Colorado 2023/24 Youth Advisory Board

Screen Shot 2023 03 09 at 11.06.40 AMVarunavi Battula (she/her)

Varunavi (Vv) is currently a biology student at CU Denver aspiring to become a future dentist or orthodontist. She greatly enjoys reading in her free time as well as watching How to Train your Dragon (and similar movies) as a study break. Visual art is one of her passions as she has been doing it since she was a child and loves to create felt sculptures and acrylic “masterpieces.” Vv also has two dogs who have the most peculiar personalities but are her heart and soul.

Coming from a culture that does not greatly value mental health, I think it’s important to continue the work of destigmatizing such topics and working towards a more progressive world through advocacy and policy, since they make some of the greatest impact on our society. As a future healthcare practitioner, I believe it’s necessary to advocate for my future patients in all the ways that I can, going past just basic health care, which is why I decided to join the Youth Advisory Board.


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Veronica Bell (she/her)

Veronica Bell is an educator and a Public Policy & Administration graduate student at Colorado State University. She is currently in her 6th year as a public school educator where she specializes in social, emotional, and cultural learning. Veronica is passionate about equitable and liberatory public policy.

I joined the YI Youth Advisory Board because I want to voice the issues that matter most to me and my peers while pushing forward sustainable and equitable policy solutions.


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Nicole Cappellino (she/her)

As a recent graduate of the Young Invincibles Rocky Mountain Young Advocates Program, Nicole has been looking for ways to stay engaged with the organization because YI has taught her all of her foundational skills on advocacy and making change for those most marginalized.

The Youth Advisory Board is the perfect way to continue my engagement with Young Invincibles and be able to be a part of a team in Colorado that is changing the world.


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Lenlee Davis (she/her)

Lenlee Davis is a graduate of the Metropolitan State University of Denver, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is currently working toward completing her Associate’s in Paralegal Studies at the Community College of Aurora. By combining her passion for law and policy, Lenlee is working to achieve educational equity through youth advocacy.

I believe that the Youth Advisory Board will provide me with the opportunity to sharpen my communication and collaboration skills, while also encouraging and strengthening my voice as a young adult advocating for political and social change.

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Tarek Elmkhanter (he/him)

Tarek Elmkhanter is a first-generation student from Morocco. He recently graduated from MSU Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. He aspires to utilize his degree to improve the technical infrastructure of our communities.

I joined YI because I wanted to work to address social problems in underserved areas of our country where there is a lack of healthcare, higher education, and financial literacy.

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Angela Guardado (se/her/ella)

I wanted to be a Youth Advisory board member because I wanted to be a voice for the communities that do not feel represented. I want to be a part of the change and help for our communities and be the voice I have always dreamed of being.

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Savannah Harrington (she/her)

Savannah Harrington is currently a college student on track to get her associates degree in Business Management and Integrative Health. She is passionate about changing health care policies to better protect her community.

I can’t wait to get to know all the other YI advisory board members! I knew joining the YI advisory board was one way I could ensure change was being made in my community.


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Monica Hernandez Jackson (she/her)

Monica is a student at Aims Community College and is on the path to becoming a Physical Therapist or a Pediatric Physical Therapist, she hasn’t decided yet because although she has a passion for Physical Therapy, she also has a passion for advocating for others. Monica has always wanted to become part of the Legislative branch so being in this program is helping her get her foot in the door. She is the student director for Civic Engagement and Voter Registration on CAP for Aims, so she has been able to create events advocating and raising awareness for voting registration, Indigenous rights, women’s history month, and many more.

I wanted to be a member of the Youth Advisory Board, because I have always wanted to make a difference and be such a strong leader that people know me for changing systematic issues and just making the world a better place. I want to speak for those that don’t have a voice and I think it’s important to let the younger generation have a say in their future. It’s also important for people like me who are a first -generation white, Indigenous, Latina woman to have representation in programs/fields like this.


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Melisa Hidalgo-Cuellar (she/her)

Melisa Hidalgo-Cuellar (she/her) is the Abortion Fund Liaison at Cobalt Advocates. Since she began working in Reproductive Health Care three years ago, she has focused on Reproductive Rights Advocacy to enable abortion seekers to access safe, equitable, and quality care. She is passionate about ensuring the right to abortion care for all regardless of reason for care, financial status, stage of pregnancy, residency, age, gender, race, or ethnicity.

I am excited to join the Youth Advisory Board, because I hope to uplift young adults so that they demand a proper education so that they understand the power in their choices and voices, and so that they use their voices to advocate for the change they want to see in this world.

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Tayla Kelly (she/her)

Tayla Kelly is a lover of poetry, mountain scenery and social justice. Born and raised in Colorado she understands the way policy affects individual’s daily lives. Her passion is to advocate and validate dismissed-voices and underserved communities.Tayla wanted to be a member of The Colorado Young Invincibles Youth Advisory Board because of the special place Young Invincibles holds in her heart and because Colorado is her home.

Young Invincibles has taught me the value of my story, where I can aid the community, and that we can change the narrative of underrepresented voices and culture in legislation.

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Savannah Martel-Valdez (she/her)

Savannah recently graduated from MSU Denver with a degree in Political Science and Human Development & Family Studies and is passionate about Public Service work. She is currently working at a nonprofit which helps move people from poverty to self-sufficiency and continues to grow both personally and professionally in her advocacy efforts. Savannah previously spent time on the MSU Denver Board of Trustees where she found her passion for advocating for younger generations and creating systemic change. She is passionate, dedicated, and excited to continue her advocacy work.

I joined the YI Youth Advisory Board because I am passionate about advocating for the needs of the younger generations and having their voices be heard. I firmly believe that if decisions and policy are going to be made that have a long lasting impact on the younger generations then we should be the ones making them and raising awareness of them to our individual communities. I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of an organization that seeks to have young voices be heard and promote economic opportunity.

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Jeremy Medina (he/him)

Jeremy is a current graduate student at CU Denver in the Master of Public Administration
Program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Society, Health & Policy from MSU Denver.
Throughout his whole life, Jeremy has been an advocate for positive change in particular
emphasizing on giving a voice to marginalized communities to have opportunities to grow.

I am excited to be a part of the team and to continue advocating for the communities right here in my home state of Colorado.


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Nicole Mukooba (she/her)

Nicole Mukooba is an undergraduate student at UC Denver majoring in Psychology. She wants to become a doctor, but she wants to make sure that she can address the mental and physical health of my patients. Nicole loves the outdoors and hikes weekly with some of her friends. She also enjoys crocheting and all things related to the arts.

I wanted to be a part of YAB because I think it is important to break our current pattern of creating policies (especially healthcare policies) that are passed by people who may not be aware of the young people’s desires.

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William Navarrete Moreno (he/him)

William Navarrete Moreno is a public health student at the University of Colorado Denver. When he is not studying, you can find him exploring the great outdoors through hiking or gazing up at the night sky, marveling at the vastness of the universe. With his passion for health equity and love of nature, he believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life, regardless of their background or circumstances. There’s so much work to be done, but he is confident that with passion and hard work, we can create a better, more equitable future for everyone!

I joined the Youth Advisory Board, because it gives me a unique platform to collaborate with other young adults who share a common vision and develop innovative solutions that address some of the most pressing issues facing our society today.

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Kendra Neumann (she/her)

Kendra was born and raised in Colorado, and her first foray into lobbying occurred when she was fourteen (in opposition to a bill around standardized testing). She moved to New York for college, where she studied human rights and public health with a focus on domestic drug policy. After graduating college in 2021, Kendra returned to Denver and is currently working in the health policy space as a researcher.

As a young adult, I want to empower myself and other young adults to be more involved in the political process, because we are the ones who will be most affected by the policy decisions being made now.


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Shantel Quintana (she/her)

Shantel Quintana (Ayla) was born in the Metro West Area and is a passionate Entrepreneur, Healing and Wellness Yoga/Meditation Instructor and Trainee Coach. Ayla studied the law right out of high school and is a proud advocate for young adults.

I am excited to join you on this journey being a part of this Youth Advisory Board to learn new skills and gain new business relationships along the way. I always loved the thought of advocating for young adults and spreading awareness when it is needed. Everyone’s voice and story matters and I am passionate about changing the world “One Breathe at a Time”. I look forward to learning what it takes to be a part of something bigger than myself and stepping into new environments. Thank you for having me and I look forward to these next two years ahead.

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Cass Reid (they/she)

Cass Reid (they/she) has worked to create equity through community throughout their life. Dealing with a chronic illness, Cass learned the value of accessibility and advocacy throughout their education. Working in various nonprofits across the state for the last decade, Cass has seen the progress that can be made when big change is demanded and bolstered by smaller changes in the private and public sector. Cass has worked for the Department of Public Health and Environment in the COVID-19 response, lending practical experience to lofty ideals.

Joining the YAB provides an excellent community space to fuel deeply needed change in healthcare, hiring, and higher education.

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Angel Rene Gonzalez (she/her)

Angel works as a Senior Program Analyst on DaVita’s Compliance team. Prior, she worked for the U.S. Department of State, the City of Denver, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
I joined YAB because I am passionate about providing accessible and affordable healthcare for all. YAB ensures young voices are valued and seeks to find solutions that help the most vulnerable. YAB will build upon my analysis, research, and program management skills

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Allie Reuter (she/her)

Allie Reuter is a recent grad from the University of Colorado Boulder. She now works in the tech industry helping design Data Centers across the country. Allie serves on the board for the YMCA of Northern Colorado, and is the chair of their Camp Santa Maria Council. Their mission is to give underprivileged kids the opportunity to experience camp. In her free time, Allie loves to travel, play volleyball, and practice Yoga.

I am excited about the opportunity to serve on YI’s Youth Advisory Board because I believe strongly in the work they are doing, and I want to support the mission of uplifting young adult voices.

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Sidney Weth (she/her)

Sidney Weth owns a photography business, loves creativity and has a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and Sociology. Advocacy helps Sidney find her voice and the voices of others as well.

I’m excited to see what I can bring to the Youth Advisory Board using one of my biggest passions of advocacy to further advocate for mental health and marginalized communities.