Who We Are
Amy Sharp (she/her), Step Up Project Wellbeing Advisor
Amy has over a decade of experience working with children, young people and vulnerable adults facing challenging circumstances such as homelessness, substance misuse, disabilities, neurodiversity and mental health. She is leading on a new YiS project supporting young people who are leaving CAMHS to continue to improve their wellbeing and achieve their personal goals and aspirations.
With a Degree in Drama, theatre studies and creative writing and previous experience within community arts, she strongly believes in the power of creativity for positive health and wellbeing. She is about to embark on a MSc Degree within psychology in order to become a champion for change; developing new and diverse therapeutic approaches for mental wellbeing.
Wellbeing Tip: "Focus on the small wins. No matter how small it may seem, there is something to be grateful for in every day"
Annalise Masad (she/her), Education and Wellbeing Practitioner
Annalise is currently at university in her third year studying Psychology, she has worked and volunteered at YiS part time for over a year as an Education and Wellbeing Practitioner delivering education and training to both young people and adults on a variety of topics around mental health. As well as helping to manage all YiS social media and it's messaging service. She is also undertaking a placement year as a Honorary Assistant Psychologist within the NHS Bucks Community Learning Disability team.
Her main interests are with young people and individuals with learning disabilities mental health as well as how societal and institutional inequalities affect an individuals mental health.
Wellbeing Tip- ‘Celebrate the little things that make you you’
Antonietta Moch (she/her), Director of Wellbeing
Antonietta has over 15 years experience working in the voluntary sector with a proven career in developing and delivery mental health, sexual health and relationship education and training. She has managed contracts, projects and staff teams and takes a refreshing optimistic person-centred approach to this.
In addition to this, she has substantial knowledge in training, person-centred working practices and is a keen motivational leader. Antonietta is a trained Mental Health First Aider with a Train the Trainer the qualifications in Mental Health Sports and Physical Activity (MHSPA) and Child Exploitation Online Prevention (CEOP) and a qualification in Happiness Life Coaching
Wellbeing Tip: "No matter what is going on in life, no matter how the body feels, take a moment to breathe in deep and exhale with a big whoosh"
Charlotte Carr (she/her), Education and Wellbeing Practitioner
Charlotte is fascinated by people, which led her to a degree in Psychology and Sociology. Whilst studying she picked modules that focussed on children and young people, and individuality. She has an awareness and understanding that every person is unique and should be treated as such. She is incredibly passionate about proactively supporting children and young people’s mental health, as well as breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. She has volunteered for a few organisations, such as Shout and YiS Young People’s Mental Health. Both of which provided a variety of training opportunities, most notably in safeguarding, equality and diversity, introduction to a variety of mental health issues, supporting people in a crisis, and becoming a Wellbeing Champion.
Wellbeing Tip: “Self-care is not selfish, it’s essential”
Gareth Eglinton-Pacitti (he/him), CEO
Gareth has been involved in community work since a young age, starting with Blue Peter campaigns at school, World AIDS Day stands at college and working up to his first professional role with Make Poverty History. Since then Gareth has worked for Oxfam, Q:alliance, Community Action: MK and now YiS Young People's Mental Health. He is proud to have volunteered for many organisations, including Mind BLMK, Stonewall, Living Archive, Transition Towns, local LGBTQ+ centres and the Aftermath Foundation. His lifelong interest in young people's mental health and the importance of self-care and compassion for others led to him becoming a professional therapeutic counsellor, a role he continues outside of YiS. Gareth is also trained in voluntary sector leadership, strategic planning, mental health, HAES (Health at Every Size), working with young people and community development.
Wellbeing Tip: "Be gentle on yourself and kind to others"
Katie Neal (she/her), Wellbeing Coach
Katie started volunteering at YiS four years ago when she was still studying for her Psychology degree at university. She started working for YiS after she graduated and specialises in the wellbeing of young people. She gives one-to-one coaching session, which enable a young person to talk about their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. Katie's aim is to promote young people's self-belief and confidence as well as improving their wellbeing and mental health to enable them to be the happiest, healthiest version of themselves.
Wellbeing Tip: "Nothing is too small or trivial to talk about. If it's on your mind, let's talk it out"
Jenny Harknett (she/her), Counselling Manager
Jenny is a BACP accredited counsellor with over a decade's experience of working with young people, as well as being Mum to two young men. She has worked in both the voluntary and public sectors, as well as in her own private practice. She believes in enabling young people to see and to step into their power potential; to trust in their own sense of meaning, to release fear and find the innate courage it takes to thrive!
Wellbeing Tip: "Life itself only ever exists in the present moment - embrace the 'now' and live!"
Safeenaz Kasim (she/her), Senior Counsellor (YMCA)
Safeenaz has been working and volunteering with children and young people since the onset of her career. With her bubbly personality and a passion for Literature and Psychology, she has worked in the field of education and utilised her psychology background as secondary school teacher and private tutor, to a support officer at the Youth Offending Team (MKYOT) and with the ‘Young People Out of School’ (YPOS) initiative. Now a qualified Adlerian counsellor, she devotes her time to volunteering for CarersMK, her private practice work and representing YiS as a senior counsellor for MK’s YMCA (or YiS-YMCA partnership).
Wellbeing Tip: “Overcoming difficulties leads to courage, self-respect, and knowing yourself.” – Alfred Alder
Sharon Fox (she/her), Client Manager
Sharon has been working and volunteering with children in the education sector for the past 18 years and joined the amazing team at YiS as the client manager in June 2019. Her compassion for others aids her desire to make a difference to the wellbeing of those in need, in particular the young people of Milton Keynes.
Wellbeing Tip: “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness”