F-M High School student receives NYS Senate Youth Leadership Award

A Fayetteville-Manlius junior received state recognition after working to generate widespread awareness concerning youth mental health. Yashu Ren was awarded a New York State Senate Youth Leadership Award, signed by Senator John W. Mannion.

F-M junior Yashu Ren received a NYS Senate Leadership Award for her work in spreading mental health awareness.
Yashu Ren, alongside Mental Health Educator Mr. DeSantis, shows off her NYS Senate Youth Leadership Award.

“It became evident to me, the severity of the mental health crisis with many people nationwide expressing the difficulties and frustration in dealing with the stigma of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety,” explained Yashu, in talking about what sparked her idea.

To demonstrate initiative and dedication to addressing this need, Yashu reached out to the New York State Office of Mental Health and requested free resources to share with her community. In doing so, she received several thousand cards with mental health care and crisis line information and resources. They have been an invaluable resource that benefits the entire school community. 

“I worked closely with my school’s Mental Health Educator, Mr. DeSantis, who was able to get the cards to many different schools and even outside districts,” added Yashu.

Yashu has also taken on a leadership role with the Positivity Project as the student Ambassador. The Positivity Projects is a non-profit organization that was created to help America’s youth build better relationships.

“Through these experiences, it was encouraging for me to see the students working together and having fun while learning about the Positivity Project traits. I also saw significant growth in leadership and self-advocacy in myself,” Yashu said.

Mr. DeSantis explained Yashu always has a  smile on her face,  and is always willing to support others. 

“Yashu embodies humility, hard work, and resilience. She navigates her academic and personal life with profound grace, consistently demonstrating empathy and a positive attitude,” described Mr. DeSantis. “Yashu is a student who undoubtedly enriches the lives of those around her and continues to support her fellow students, as well as her teachers,” 

Congratulations to Yashu and thank you for the lasting impact you continue to make on our community!