Creative Resilient Youth

A teen-led initiative responding to gaps in mental health dialogue and resources for and created by teens.

Supported By


CRY 2018-2019
November 2018 - May 2019

CRY 2019-2020
August 2019 - Ongoing

PhillyCam (15:08 minutes)

CRY Teen Leaders
Jay Santiago
Avani Alvarez
Payton Fulton
Natalie Ionescu
Andre Pak
Joseph Navales

Facilitation Team
Bennett Kuhn, Co-Initiator & Co-Facilitator
Andrea Ngan, Co-Initiator & Co-Facilitator
Michelle Delgado, Co-Initiator & Co-Facilitator
Felicia Blow, Co-Facilitator

Program Overview

Creative Resilient Youth (CRY) is a teen-led program attempting to respond to gaps in intergenerational dialogue and lack of mental health care resources in schools.

CRY meetings enable creative exchange, promote collective consensus building, and provide space for individual reflection. Through weekly meetings teens build towards producing works of art and contemplative aesthetic practices that give them language for unpacking mental health stigma. The program centers capacity building around community organizing and project management, furthering teens’ abilities to step into leadership positions as young changemakers at the forefront of movements for health justice among their peers and communities.
Culminating May 2019 CRY Exhibition

Our Goals
We aim to provide a lasting and impactful space for conversations and action-based work about teen mental health in Philadelphia. The program leverages participatory art and leadership skills to co-create preventative strategies for teens, who remain among the most at-risk populations to experience extreme states and committing acts of self-harm or suicide.

Between 2006 and 2014, the suicide rate in the United States among people 19 and under rose from 2.18 to 2.75 per 100,000 people, according to Pew Center research. Children and adolescents (ages 10–14) with mental health conditions make up 90% of those who commit suicide, according to NAMI. Drawing from our own lived experiences, we created CRY to support the visions and voices of teens in response to this great need.