Heather Martin, Founding Director
Heather Martin holds a Master’s of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan. Heather has extensive experience in the coordination and management of innovative, creative arts programming. She has facilitated hundreds of creative arts workshops for youth and adults involved and impacted by the criminal justice system. Additionally, she leads training on best-practices for creative arts interventions/collaborations to activate personal transformation and collaboration for community change. Heather founded Youth Arts Alliance in an effort to establish opportunities for creative expression in the juvenile justice system.
Christiana Castillo, Director of Education
Christiana Castillo is a Mexican-Brasilian-American educator, poet, and gardener born in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil and based out of the greater Detroit area living on Anishinaabe land. She holds a Master of Arts in secondary education from the The University of Michigan with a focus on English and English as Second Language. Her chapbook, Crushed Marigold, was published in 2020 with Flower Press. Castillo is committed to learning with and from youth, and amplifying their voices.
Jasdeep Kler, Director of Evaluation
Jasdeep holds a Master’s of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. As a student, he had the opportunity to work with the Center for Healthy Minds, where he developed a passion for mindfulness. He is now bringing his knowledge and skills working with youth to incorporate trauma-informed mindfulness into his workshops. He is also using his public health background to assist in program development, evaluation, and reporting.
Lucy Cahill, Creative Director
Lucy Cahill is a lifelong visual artist and craft maker, specializing in illustration and concert poster design. Her work has spanned themes such as the feminine body, mass consumerism, and the visual motifs of mid century print media, and reflects an introspective yet interrogative artistic inner voice. Her past work in curation and arts administration has informed her role as YAA’s Creative Director, where she commits to centering youth experiences and youth creative visions by amplifying their ideas to reach broader audiences.
Sarah Unrath, Art Coordinator
Sarah is a community artist and creative facilitator in Dexter, Mi. She holds a Master’s of Arts in Art Education degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art & Design from the University of Michigan. Sarah has dedicated her life to advocating for creative opportunities and space for people who have been socially excluded or relegated by society. She believes that art is a powerful catalyst for their voices & stories to be heard. Sarah has facilitated creative arts workshops and arts integration trainings all over the country. She now has the privilege to join YAA as they lift up the voices of young artists across MI.
Neha Pareddy, Intern
Neha has a Bachelor’s degree in Community and Global Public Health from the University of Michigan. She enjoys dancing and painting and is passionate about the power of healing through art. In her future career, she aims to empower others to achieve happiness and well-being. She originally joined the YAA team to assist with spreading awareness of the organization’s mission and accomplishments through online platforms, including social media. Neha is excited about the opportunity to teach workshops and continue gaining support for YAA through communications and media efforts.
Kate Cammell, Intern
Kate Cammell is a writer and creative living in Ann Arbor, MI. While earning her BA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, Kate joined YAA as a poetry workshop facilitator where she witnessed art’s capacity for healing and resilience firsthand. She spent the past year working as a reporter for PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program while earning her master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School. Kate is looking forward to returning to YAA as a facilitator and communications specialist, creating space for youth and teaching artists to share their journeys on YAA’s new blog.