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Teen shines a spotlight on youth mental health

In 2020, Tiburon’s Jake Bizzell was selected to serve as a youth ambassador for the Tyler Clementi Foundation, doing outreach to bring awareness to the issue of bullying. (via Joe Summerill)

There’s a simple reason Jake Bizzell is passionate about raising awareness of youth mental-health issues. “I feel like I can empathize with people, and I want to help,” says Jake, 16.

As a member of the Marin County Youth Commission, where he serves on the mental-health subcommittee, and as a youth ambassador for the Tyler Clementi Foundation, a national nonprofit that aims to end physical and cyber bullying, Jake works to advocate for and empower his peers to speak about and prioritize their mental health.

Though the groups have two different goals, his work with each of them has one thing in common, Jake says. “I’m basically just trying to make life better for people like me or other people around my age,” he says.

Jake, a junior at Marin Academy, grew up in Washington, D.C., and moved to Tiburon with his two dads at age 14. His volunteer work started before that; around age 10, he started helping Maryland-based nonprofit Adoptions Together raise awareness of the challenges facing youth in the foster-care system in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Jake, who was adopted through the agency when he was a baby, served as a youth ambassador for a traveling portrait exhibit of local children in foster care.

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