ACCEPTANCE AMBASSADORS

Valencia Saint-Louis

Acceptance Ambassador

Nickname: I usually go by Valencia, but some people call me “Val”
School: Adelphi University
Major: Communications, with a concentration in Media Studies
Favorite hobbies/passions: I love to sing, at any time (to the dismay of my neighbors). I also have a passion for poetry, writing, exploring spiritual practices, and continuous personal development.
Favorite food: You can never go wrong with pizza or eggplant parm. And for a snack? Popcorn for daysss.
Fun fact about me: I can rap all the words to the extended version of the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”.
Favorite musicians at the moment: Bruno Mars, Ella Mai, Lauv, Charlie Puth, and H.E.R.
Why I became an IAA ambassador: I became an Acceptance Ambassador because I believe we all need a deeper connection to ourselves and to each other. That connection stems from being self-aware, emotionally intelligent, and vulnerable. It comes from being empathetic, understanding, and real. I felt that the values of I Am Acceptance were in alignment with my own, and that by becoming an Acceptance Ambassador I could grow a deeper connection to myself and others.

One project I’d love to make happen with IAA in the future: I’d love for us to create meaningful content that promotes spaces for men and POC to openly talk about mental health and wellness within their communities.

Bartholomew Fuchs

Acceptance Ambassador
Nickname: I go by Bart!
School: California Institute of the Arts
Metier (Major): Experimental Popular Music
Favorite hobbies/passions: When I’m not playing music my favorite things to do are going skimboarding, playing ultimate frisbee, and cooking really dope food.
Favorite foods: Vegan Ramen and Mac no Cheese
Fun fact about me: I love pugs, if I see one I will more than likely lose it for a hot second. I know everything about them, but I’ve never had one!
Favorite musicians at the moment: Right now listening to a lotttt of Allen Stone, High Highs, Tash Sultana and Julien Baker!
Why I became an IAA ambassador: I became an acceptance ambassador because I want to change the face of mental health. I want to band together with students who share my passion to make talking about mental health NORMAL EVERYWHERE. I truly believe IAA is the beginning of this goal or movement rather, on an organized, understanding level that will empower students to express their feelings on mental health and overall wellness today in their own unique ways. IAA is an organization that preaches true acceptance for all and I’m happy to be an ambassador that feels the same way!
One project I’d love to make happen with IAA in the future: I would love to do artistic projects with IAA. I want to collaborate with other ambassadors to create a mental health and arts center for the program or incorporate artistry as a foundational concept in health 🙂

Socks Whitmore

Acceptance Ambassador

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs
School: California Institute of the Arts
Major: BFA Performer-Composer
Favorite hobbies/passions:Movies, musicals, and SOCKS!
Favorite food: Indian buffets and soup (all the vegetarian options that is)
Fun fact about me: I’ve performed at the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, and the Sydney Opera House
Favorite musicians at the moment: Myself? JK as a musician I can’t pick favorites
Why I became an IAA ambassador: Mental health has had a huge impact on my life, in part because I was not educated or shown healthy acceptance. It was not until college that I learned (by experience and by seeking out) what I needed to know about understanding and caring for
my mental health. That’s not the way it should be. I want to help reform the system using my art, my voice, whatever I can so the mental health of the future is in good hands.

One project I’d love to make happen with IAA in the future: Since I already wrote a full-length musical with my partner about mental health, perhaps an assist with touring it to high schools. OR to make a music video with a show song or different original about mental health!

Jedidiah Bondy

Acceptance Ambassador
Nickname: Jed
School: Drexel University
Metier (Major): Biology, organismal physiology
Favorite hobbies/passions: Ultimate frisbee and helping people in need
Favorite foods: Sushi
Fun fact about me: I presented a research poster at the 13th Annual Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) meeting held at Georgetown University.
Favorite musicians at the moment: Tierra Whack
Why I became an IAA ambassador: I wanted to be part of an organisation that is willing to start conversations about mental illness and ending stigma around them. My goal is to create meaningful content on all social media so that we can make a positive impact on the world.
One project I’d love to make happen with IAA in the future:I would love to create a presentation about the neuroscience and biochemistry behind mental illness. This information is easily accessible, but confusing for those who do not have a background in science. I want to put this in terms so anyone can understand these important concepts.

Sydney Magee

Acceptance Ambassador

Nickname: Syd
School: Appalachian State University
Major: Computer Science
Favorite hobbies/passions: Blessed to have a horse named Doc that I enjoy riding
Favorite food: Pepperoni and mushroom pizza
Fun fact about me: I’m pretty tall, 5’11”
Favorite musicians at the moment: Deadmau5, Dillon Francis, Jai Wolf, A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane, Kanye West
Why I became an IAA ambassador: I love the message that IAA instills. I have battled depression and anxiety for years and I am pleased to be apart of an organization that is combating the stigma against mental health. Starting and strengthening the conversation about mental health is an important element to everyone’s wellness.

One project I’d love to make happen with IAA in the future: I am interested in creating a safe space or group for people dealing with addiction, whether that be a personal struggle or a relative or a friend, we are all affected.

Dezmond Imperial

Acceptance Ambassador
Nickname: Dez or Dezzy
School: SUNY Old Westbury
Metier (Major): Psychology
Favorite hobbies/passions: I truly love music, video games, and comics.
Favorite foods: Chicken. Most dishes with chicken.
Fun fact about me: I have 3 tattoos but about 5 more planned out.
Favorite musicians at the moment: Favorite artists right now Khalid and FrvrFriday.
Why I became an IAA ambassador: I became an ambassador to raise awareness of mental illness in POC families. Everyone has their battles and I have my personal ones as well. It isn’t just a bout of sadness and everyone should be well aware of that and how to help combat it.
One project I’d love to make happen with IAA in the future:One project I would love to have in the future is having all ambassadors meet in person and perhaps go to another school to broaden reach.

Rosemary Gomez

Acceptance Ambassador
Nickname: Ros
School: Hofstra University
Metier (Major): Psychology
Favorite hobbies/passions: I enjoy walking/jogging on the boardwalk since I live close to the beach, drawing, watching YouTube videos, and listening to music.
Favorite foods: Pizza and teriyaki chicken.
Fun fact about me: I will point out every dog and cat I see and talk about how cute it is. I’ve never had a pet dog or cat but I hope to soon.
Favorite musicians at the moment: I listen to so many artists and groups but my absolute favorites are Ariana Grande, BTS, NF, and Carlos Vives.
Why I became an IAA ambassador: I became an IAA ambassador because I want to be involved in helping promote awareness of mental health and wellness. I really think this is a great platform to begin discussions about mental health especially in communities that have negative perspectives and/or don’t really talk about them. Opening these discussions I believe will allow people to learn and become more understanding about such topics. I also believe IAA can help create a safe space for people to express their feelings and concerns as well as a community that supports one another. I am looking forward to working with you! 🙂
One project I’d love to make happen with IAA in the future:I would love to work on projects that are related to minority populations. As a minority myself, I realize the importance of having representation in any and every platform. Most minority populations don’t discuss mental health as much so I hope to be able to work on projects that can help break this barrier.