Meet 2 of Our Newest Board Members, Archana and Sophia!

Photo Mar 17, 12 41 26 PMYesterday morning, a chilly March morning perfect for a steaming cup of hot CHAI, the 2013 board got it’s first opportunity to gather in full and start planning a year of hard work and meaningful projects.  With so many new faces, we just had to order in some spicy, delicious Ethiopian food to share while we got to know each other and the strengths each of us brings to CHAI, and what about the new mission resonated with us.

The new mission:  CHAI takes a holistic approach to providing proactive, culturally competent information and referrals on mental health and wellness to the South Asian populations.  We work collaboratively with communities and service organizations to end stigma and increase access to mental health

Take a minute to read the introductions below of two lovely ladies who have recently joined the CHAI board.

After obtaining a degree in journalism from Ithaca College, Archana Menon just completed her work as the Coordinator of Publicity and Culture at the Embassy of India, DC. Archana first heard of CHAI through family and friends, and met ED, Razia Kosi at a dinner where she was introduced to CHAI’s mission and work. CHAI’s strong commitment to improving mental health services in the South Asian community and meeting CHAI’s board members convinced her to get involved.

Archana was a little late to discover the delightful taste of chai- growing up, chai was given to Archana whenever she fell sick and thought chai was just as tasty as cough syrup. Today, Archana is always up for a strong cup for masala chai. Coffee, however, will always remain her first choice.

Archana is a news addict and is constantly seeking ways to learn about different cultures around the world. She enjoys traveling, yoga, exploring DC, trying new food spots and attempting culinary experiments.

Archana Menon

Archana Menon

Sophia Kuziel is currently a stay at home mom and she volunteers at a local organization for teen mothers. She recently completed an MPH degree and is looking for a career in health education. In her spare time, her hobbies include yoga and pottery.
Sophia Kuziel

Sophia Kuziel

Sophia was introduced to CHAI through another board member, Urmi, when Urmi brought Sophia to our Happy Hour at the Austin Grill last February in Silver Spring.  A year later, sitting in a board room across the street, Sophia joined us at her first official board meeting and is already coming up with unique ways to get involved by bringing a different perspective to the CHAI parenting initiative articles!  Sophia hopes to learn more about the issues that South Asians face concerning mental health and hopes to be able to help grow the organization’s outreach.
Sophia  has always been a strong proponent of mental health care. She tells us, “I studied psychology during undergrad but I was unaware of the stigma in the South Asian community until I met my now husband, Guru. In addition, studying public health has opened my eyes to the world of cultural competency within the mental health field. I am most passionate about maternal and child mental health as I believe these are under-served populations.”
I asked Sophia to share with us her favorite way to prepare chai and learned she is in the “barista”  club, meaning she’d rather have someone prepare her Chai for her.  Lucky she’s in the right place!
Welcome Archana and Sophia, we’re so pleased to have you join us in our important work and look forward to your contributions!

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