Current Fellows
Adolescent Health

Sarah-Michael Gaston

Current Fellow

Sarah-Michael Gaston serves as a Policy Advocate with Youth Forward. In this role, she is responsible for informing and engaging individuals and community groups in California to advocate for policies in support of racial justice and health equity. Sarah-Michael develops broad coalitions and policy recommendations to influence the allocation of cannabis tax revenues and other state funding sources that assist vulnerable youth. She has helped leverage over $100 million in Proposition 64 grant programs to support youth development, prevention, and healing in communities of color impacted by the War on Drugs. Sarah-Michael also leads advocacy in support of youth mental health. She is working to increase access to culturally grounded and youth-led mental health services for youth of color and vulnerable youth. Her work in cannabis policy and youth mental health converge as her organization seeks to win regulations that will eliminate cannabis advertising targeted at young people, and to limit high potency cannabis products that increase risk for youth mental illness.

Youth Forward is a Sacramento based nonprofit dedicated to creating smart solutions to improve the health, education and well-being of the most vulnerable children and youth in California. The organization advocates for policy and systems changes that increase public investments in children and youth and that reduce the criminalization of young people. Youth Forward promotes youth voice and leadership in the policymaking process and support other organizations with youth organizing, policy research, and organizational development.

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