Mary-Anne Leahy, Program Manager
Mary-Anne has been involved in The New Mentality since 2011, starting as a group member to the provincial Youth Action Committee (YAC). While co-chairing the YAC she developed The New Mentalities first youth-led policy initiative, The Speak Up Speak Out Project. A province-wide youth engagement initiative to look at the education system and opportunities to provide better support for children and youth in elementary and high school. Her current role is Program Manager where she oversees The New Mentality network working towards supporting youth and adult allies doing leading-edge youth engagement in communities across the province. She is a youth engagement specialist with a wealth of experience in project management, network development, youth-led policy, event planning, and facilitation.
Fizza Abbas, Network Coordinator
Fizza has been apart of the network previously as a Youth Facilitator for our TNM group in Peel and has attended Disable the Label the past two years as a Crew Leader. Fizza graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and then further pursued her post-graduate in Addictions and Mental Health. Prior to the Network Coordinator position, she was a Recreation Specialist at a psycho-social rehabilitation program and created fun and engaging wellness-based programming, as well as provided supportive counselling for individuals experiencing mental health challenges, and social isolation. Fizza also worked as a child and youth program instructor with the City of Mississauga, helping to create programs that were inclusive and helped to nurture leadership skills in young individuals. Her role as the Network Coordinator is to support The New Mentality groups across the province, assist the Youth Action Committee and help plan our provincial gathering – Disable the Label!
Gerard Sagassige, Aboriginal Navigator
Gerard currently works as an Aboriginal Advisor in circles and embraces the seed to inner healing, the child of spirit. He has been actively advocating for well over 30 years for the identified historical migration of despair and the growth of healing within traditional practice process as well as western ways of healing. He currently does regional and community outreach work in the areas of Homestead Education and Health, and also works as TNM’s Aboriginal Navigator. In this role, he works with our network to develop cross cultural awareness and broaden our understanding of wellness and circles of care.
Our small paid staff team collaborates closely with The New Mentality community throughout the year to guide us in our work. Twice a year we convene our Advisory Group, a group of current and former TNM group members, adult allies, community partners, and other elders and advisors. We are also in frequent communication with our TNM groups and adult allies, as well as other youth mental health organizations and community partners.