Project Updates for 2020 Naveed Arif Iqball Awardees


Led by the Eisenberg Family Depression Center, the Naveed Arif Iqball Award for Mental Health Advocacy and Stigma Reduction supports new and innovative community initiatives that raise mental health awareness through a $2,000 grant. The 2020 grant recipients, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County (BBBS) and Naomi Alvarado of U-M Dearborn, had many feats in their projects despite the challenges of COVID-19.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County (BBBS)

Building a Community of Trusted Mentors

The goal of the BBBS organization was to build a community of trusted members by providing resources to help adult role models, or Bigs, recognize mental health problems in their Littles and create stronger relationships between them. BBBS was able to accomplish this goal by hosting five Big Success workshops, three Team Building activities, and three Parent Engagement workshops, as well as creating a resource library called Rachel’s Corner, all with the help of project funds.

With great marketing and communication strategies, BBBS was able to reach an estimated 4,000 community members, providing resources for mental health tools, coping strategies, and guidance. Although participation was not as high as they had hoped due to COVID-19, BBS will “continue to engage partners to address mental health issues and reduce [mental health] stigma,” as part of their sustainability efforts. More information about the BBBS organization can be found here.

Screen captures from BBBS led workshops.


Naomi Alvarado

Unseen United Project

Naomi Alvarado, founder of the Unseen United Project, had a vision to provide underrepresented voices in the mental health community a chance to share their mental health stories through the form of art.

“My main mission was to have artists make their voices heard, while also offering a safe space for them to cope,” said Naomi.

With the help of this grant, Alvarado was able to do just that. She provided high school students in Washtenaw County with exposure to professionals who could help improve their artistic abilities, a support group where they could share their experiences with mental health, and a platform for the students to share their artwork. She was able to reach up to 200 people through her program and creation of an Instagram page. In the future, Alvarado hopes to expand her organization into a non-profit or club at her school.




Unseen United Project Logo     Screen capture from a support group.


Applications for the 2021-2022 Naveed Arif Iqball Award will be opening on August 16. For more information, visit .