Jenny Jaffe, Founder
Jenny Jaffe is the founder of Project UROK and the chair of the Youth Advisory Council at Child Mind Institute. Jenny was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder when she was ten years old. As a teenager, she suffered from paralyzing anxiety and depression so she created Project UROK to be the resource she wishes she’d had. In addition to advising at Project UROK and the Child Mind Institute, Jenny is also a comedy writer and performer currently writing for the upcoming Disney Show “Big Hero 6”. Her past credits include MTV, VH1 and CollegeHumor. Jenny sold her first screenplay at 19 and has a BFA in television writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Sarah Hartshorne, Project Manager
Sarah Hartshorne is the Production Supervisor of Project UROK at Child Mind Institute, so she is in charge of making all of their videos. Sarah was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is passionate about engaging in honest, open conversations about mental health.. Before working in production, Sarah was a plus-sized model, best known as the plus-size contestant on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 9. She’s also modeled for national and international campaigns and commercials, been featured in Glamour, People and been on the cover of Vogue L’Uomo. In addition to managing Project UROK’s daily operations and productions, she’s currently producing a documentary about plus-size modeling and fashion called Straight/Curve.
José Rivera Jr., Social Media Manager
Jose is Project UROK’s social media manager, so he’s in charge of all of our communications- when you message us, you’ll hear from him first! José grew up as an insecure, anxious teen until he later learned to channel his insecurities through dance and performance. José is a Puerto Rican – American multimedia performing artist, director & choreographer based in Brooklyn, NY, merging techniques in music, fashion, technology, visual art, and theater. José’s work has been shown in tiny, ten-seat, black box theaters to Radio City Music Hall to music videos to the mirror in his (cute) apartment. His most notable work, OF CAKE & VANITY, which explores body positivity and homogenization through dance and sick visuals, premiered in 2015. Jose just finished a European tour of his follow up piece, LQQK, which he will be performing stateside in 2017.. José holds a BFA in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Dior Vargas, Outreach Coordinator
Dior Vargas is the Outreach Coordinator for Project UROK, so she’s in charge of all of our partnerships and working with Child Mind Institute clinicians on programs throughout New York City. Dior is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist and creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of people of color in the media representation of mental illness. She’s also a former volunteer crisis counselor for CrisisTextLine and a co-facilitator for NAMI NYC Metro’s Young Adult Support Group. Dior is the recipient of numerous awards, The White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations, a Voices of the Year honoree under the Impact category at #BlogHer15: Experts among Us Conference, 2015 Alternatives Conference Cookie Gant and Bill Compton LGBTQI Leadership Award. She has a B.A. in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College and a M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.
Charlie Purdom, Content Coordinator
Charlie Purdom is the Content Coordinator for Project UROK, so he works with Sarah to write, direct and edit all of our content. An experienced director and editor, Charlie excels at creating a safe and welcoming studio environment in which people can tell their stories. He’s creative, adaptable, and comfortable coming up with new and interesting ways to use digital content to tell stories. Finally, Charlie is responsible for creating and maintaining a catalog of work that reflects both the diversity and commonality of teenagers struggling with mental illness around the world. In the past year, Charlie has been able to create 150 unique and powerful videos for Project UROK. Charlie has a BFA in Photography from The School of Visual Arts NYC. He has over ten years of filmmaking experience starting from when he was in high school. With insatiable artistic drive; Charlie is an avid director, editor, and screenwriter working on a few up and coming projects including a podcast and video series called Charlie’s Talk-Thru.