Register Now for NAAF's 39th Annual Patient Conference June 27-30, 2024 in Washington, D.C.!

Find A Youth Mentor

How It Works

  1. 1
    Select Preferred Mentors

    Add three mentors that best fit your needs.

  2. 2
    Tell Us About Your Child

    Fill out a quick form to help us match your child.

  3. 3
    Apply and Get Matched

    Your child gets matched with a mentor based on your preferences.

Ryan Sterling

Male / 27 / Illinois

Will meet with: Kids, Parents, Young Adults

Type: Alopecia universalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: Yes

Hey! My name is Ryan Sterling and I live in Batavia, Illinois. I’m 23 and currently work as a financial analyst. Some of things I enjoy doing are being active whether it be hiking, playing sports, walking around going bird watching, or just enjoying nature. I am also super into video games, really into Pokemon and Minecraft right now, but if you name it, I’ve probably played it. I also enjoy being creative by crafting, making silly videos with my friends, or singing alone to Adele in my car driving down the highway lol. My journey with Alopecia started as Alopecia Areata in middle school, which then went away during high school and part of college, then I was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis after graduating school. I like to think that I am confident in myself and who I am and I hope to give this confidence to someone else in need of figuring out who they are and what they can be after losing their hair! I definitely still have bad days just like anyone else so I know exactly what you or your child is going through. Really excited to have just a fantastic time getting to know you and helping guide you through such a different path in life! I’m down to answer any and all questions that may arise. I am an open book!"

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Cara Puccini

Female / 4 / Ohio

Type: Alopecia universalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: No

Hi, my name is Cara Puccini and I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, where I am studying Dietetics and Nutrition. At UC, I attend almost all the football and basketball games, and I love going the rec to workout. I have had alopecia universalis since I was 3 years old. Since I don’t remember ever having hair, I have never felt the need to wear a wig, although I do own some. After my second NAAF conference, I began drawing my eyebrows on and last summer I got them tattooed, and recently went back to get them micro-bladed. My twin sister, who has hair, and I went to a small catholic grade school and high school where we were cheerleaders and played golf. Since it was so small almost everyone knew who I was and I was never bullied for my alopecia. I have been attending NAAF conferences for 8 years now, and I look forward to them every summer. Although I never truly struggled with my alopecia, becoming part of the NAAF community changed my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having alopecia and the opportunities I have had through NAAF.

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Samantha Gregoire

Female / 25 / New York

Will meet with: Kids, Parents, Young Adults

Type: Alopecia areata patchy

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: Yes

Hi everyone! My name is Samantha Gregoire, and I am from Buffalo, NY. I went to Michigan State University to study Neuroscience and am currently a medical student at the University at Buffalo! I love dogs, running, skiing, Taylor Swift, and football (Go Bills!).   I was diagnosed with patchy alopecia areata when I was 19 years old. My hair has grown back since then, but this experience truly left a great impact on me. I understand how having alopecia can be confusing, frustrating, and emotional all at the same time, and I would love to support others going through this experience in any way I can. I’m very excited to get to know you and support each other on this journey!  

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Hayley Gragnano

Female / 30 / Arizona

Will meet with: Kids, Parents, Young Adults

Type: Alopecia universalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: Yes

Hi, my name is Hayley! I am 29 years old and living in Phoenix, AZ. I currently work as a registered nurse in the E.R. at a children’s hospital. Some of my interests include being outdoors such as, going hiking, biking, and paddle boarding. I LOVE animals and volunteer at an animal shelter for cats and dogs, as well as a horse rescue. I was diagnosed with alopecia in the 1st grade and it was not long before it all fell out, so I’ve been bald most of my life! I love to share my experiences with other people, and hear the experiences of those who are going through the same journey.

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Hiatt Holman

Male / 23 / Iowa

Will meet with: Kids, Young Adults

Type: Alopecia universalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: Yes

Hello, my name is Hiatt Holman! I am 22 years old, and a senior at the University of Iowa. I was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa, and have lived there throughout my life. I was diagnosed with Alopecia at the age of six and have been rocking the bald head ever since! Throughout my life, I have tried to be open-minded and interested in everything. I love to play sports and music (I am a very sub-par guitar player), I really enjoy video games, I watch a ton of shows and movies in my free-time, I love to talk about fashion and shoes, and I am a geek about astronomy. Nevertheless, I would be more than happy to discuss anything or participate in any activity. I love to learn and try new things every day! I am so excited to meet my mentee and their family soon, and build a strong, loving connection together!

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Kim Tan

Female / 19 / Texas

Will meet with: Kids, Parents, Young Adults

Type: Alopecia universalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: Yes

Hi! My name is Kim Tan, and I’m from Austin, Texas. I enjoy playing the piano, baking, and playing with my dog, Diesel. I was diagnosed with Alopecia in September 2020, but I began my hair loss journey in April 2020. Initially, I had overall thinning which was diagnosed as Telogen Effluvium. After a few months, I began to notice multiple spots around my whole head. I progressed from Alopecia Areata to Totalis, and then to Universalis, all within a few months. During this time, I went through many ups and downs. I was devastated that my long, thick hair was gone, but with the support of my family and friends, I grew to embrace it. In fact, it led me to my current career path. I had always wanted to be a doctor, but my experience with Alopecia and many dermatologists have inspired me to pursue a path of Dermatology with a specialization in hair. My experience with Alopecia also drove me to create an Instagram account (@Baldacious._) to raise awareness for Alopecia and inform the community about all things Alopecia.

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Sarah Seward

Female / 35 / North Carolina

Will meet with: Kids, Parents, Young Adults

Type: Alopecia totalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: Yes

Hello All! My name is Sarah Seward and I’ve had alopecia areata going on 9 years now. I was first diagnosed at the age of 21 and lost all of my hair within two weeks. I am a grower and a shedder which means there is no consistency to be able to grasp. I currently work within the cosmetic industry. It is very rewarding to help people feel good and enhance their natural beauty. In my downtime I love sports! I am originally from KC, so the Royals and the Chiefs are my diehard teams! I look forward to getting to know you!

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Shelby Swart

Female / 29 / Ohio

Type: Alopecia universalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: No

Hello! My name is Shelby and I am 22 years old. I was born in West Virginia and I moved to Northeast Ohio when I was 3 years old. I grew up spending the majority of my time showing and being around my horses. I just graduated college in December of 2017, and I am a first-year high school special education teacher close to Columbus, OH. I LOVE teaching! I spend my time going to church, being with family and friends, working out, camping, boating, fishing, hiking, and traveling. I am getting married in May of 2018 to a great guy and that keeps me super busy! I found out I had alopecia areata when I was in 11th grade. My mom found a round bald spot on the back of my head one day and took me to the Doctor. That is when I was diagnosed. My family and I already knew what it was as my uncle has it. He was diagnosed with AU when he was a child. I was very upset as I knew all his hair was taken away from him and I did not want to go through that. It was an ongoing battle all throughout college. During my fourth year of college, I experienced so much hair loss that I decided to begin wearing wigs. I LOVE hair and my wigs make me so happy! I shaved my head last month because of the amount of hair that I lost. I am now going through loss of my body hair. I used to not talk about my struggle with alopecia but now I am so confident. Alopecia truly can tear you down but YOU CAN CONQUER THIS!!! I have been there and done that! It still gets frustrating sometimes, but I AM beautiful the way I am and so are YOU! I have taught my students so much about alopecia and how we can overcome challenges we have to face. I have learned so much throughout this journey and I cannot wait to teach and mentor to others what I have learned. I am so excited for this journey with NAAF to help inspire and encourage others throughout this journey of alopecia.

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Alexandra Upadhyaya

Female / 29 / Kentucky

Will meet with: Kids, Parents, Young Adults

Type: Alopecia areata patchy, Alopecia universalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: Yes

Hi! My name is Alexandra (Alex) Upadhyaya and I have had Alopecia since I was 3 years old. I grew up attending the yearly NAAF conferences and dedicated my time to athletics which helped me find the strength and confidence needed to grow up without hair. I’ve cycled through all the alopecia types but made the decision to shave my head entirely back in high school. Since then, I have also lost my eyelashes and eyebrows. I am proud to be bald and choose not to wear a wig, but do not judge those who choose differently. I am a new homeowner in Louisville KY and work as an industrial designer for an outdoor cooking appliance company. I love to run, work on house projects, and cook. I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned a lot on my alopecia journey, and I would love to be a part of yours!

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Caitlin Summers

Female / 34 / Colorado

Type: Alopecia universalis

Language(s): English

Accepting mentees: No

Hi, my name is Caitlin! I'm from Danville, California, but have lived in the beautiful city of San Francisco for the last 4 years. I graduated with a degree in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University (located in Southern California) in 2012 and now work as an Enterprise Account Executive at a technology company called Zendesk. I am very close with my family and my friendships mean the world to me. I enjoy hiking, running, drawing, writing, reading and spending time with loved ones. Like everyone in this program, alopecia is a part of me, but it does not define me. I started losing my hair when I was in kindergarten and struggled with unpredictable bald spots through my college years. Although this provided for quite a bit of anxiety as a child, I was always able to cover up my thin patches and led a pretty normal life. At the age of 22, however, right after I had started my first job out of college and moved out of my parents, I lost all of my hair within about a month. This rocked my world and was extremely difficult, but I am thankful for my alopecia in that it has made me a stronger, more empathetic person today. I have learned to value and stand up for individuality. I am still living life without a lick of hair on my head (although I wear a wig, brows & lashes when in public) and am looking forward to sharing my journey with those involved in this organization! Let's get ice cream and talk!

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