America doesn’t need more guns. It needs more people to Live Unloaded. Join the movement.

Youth Council

Project Unloaded’s Youth Council is a vital part of the organization’s work to change gun culture and save lives. This group of young people advises on upcoming campaigns, shapes our social media presence, and helps to identify opportunities to reach more young people with the life-saving message that guns make us less safe. Get to know them below.

Young woman smiling.

Anvesha Guru (she/her) is a high school senior from Brookfiled, WI. She’s excited to be returning for her second year on Project Unloaded’s Youth Council. She was drawn to Project Unloaded because of its unique goal to change the cultural narrative about guns. Anvesha has been involved in gun violence prevention for the last 3 years, working with several organizations in her hometown. Outside of her gun violence prevention work, Anvesha learns and teaches Indian Classical Dance and enjoys performing and watching live theater.

Young man smiling.

Edgar Vilchez (he/him) is a first year at Cornell University, majoring in Government with a minor in Public Policy. He is originally from Chicago, IL and is very interested in how to cultivate a positive impact in communities that are underrepresented in government. Topics he is particularly passionate about include immigration, public health, and stopping gun violence. By joining the Youth Council, he hopes that he will be able to change the narrative about guns and gun violence both in his home community and at school. In his free time, he can be found reading books at coffee shops or going to concerts.

Young woman smiling.

Emma Hackbarth (she/her) is a high school senior from Queens, New York. Emma is excited to join the Youth Council because she believes in how much growth and compassion there is to be cultivated in the cultural discourse surrounding gun use. Outside of her advocacy work, Emma loves to act, write, read poetry and dance.

Young woman smiling.

Esha Ambre (she/her) is a high school junior from the Bay Area in California. She is passionate about working with Project Unloaded’s Youth Council to elevate the intersection between gun culture and mental health in teens. In her free time, she loves to read and is always looking for book recommendations. At school, she is a part of Mock Trial and Model UN and is very interested in keeping up with current events.

Young woman smiling.

Laya Venkatasubramanian (she/her) is a high school junior from Normal, IL. She has a wide variety of interests including finance, music, dance, basketball, and volunteering. Laya was motivated to join the Youth Council because of how gun violence has impacted her generation, and how she worries it will impact future generations too if things don’t change. In the past, she participated in school demonstrations against gun violence and looks forward to deepening her work on the issue. 

Young woman smiling.

Karly Scholz (she/her) is a third year at the University of Virginia, where she is studying history and media studies. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and has been involved in gun violence prevention activism since early high school. She feels passionate about the work because young people deserve to be able to focus on school and childhood activities without worrying about their own safety, or how they can make mass change.  Outside of her activism, Karly is a member of the UVA Mutual Aid organization and an avid participant in food-truck Fridays. In her spare time, you can find her scrolling through TikTok or hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Young woman smiling.

Lillian Lee-Sin (she/her) is a junior in high school in Evans, Georgia. This is her second 

year with the Project Unloaded Youth Council. As part of the council, Lily has advised on social media campaigns, talked to the media and supported Project Unloaded’s community partnership work. Lily is part of Project Unloaded because she believes that everyone deserves to grow up in a community in which they feel safe. She previously worked on another council to advocate for youth experiencing homelessness. Outside of advocacy, her passions include music, writing, design, and basketball. Lily is a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo and teaches martial arts to younger kids as well.

Young woman smiling.

Madhurum (Maddie) Bhuvan (she/they) is a high school senior from Fremont, California. Maddie’s passion for changing the narrative about gun ownership comes from her research on the relationship between youth mental health, gun access and suicide. Outside of her work with Project Unloaded, she enjoys working in education, advocacy, and community support. Their current projects include expanding LGBTQ+ inclusivity, increasing mental health awareness, and creating educational opportunities in the Bay Area. In Maddie’s spare time, she dances on a competitive hip-hop dance team, explores obscure music genres, and plays the drums.

Young woman smiling.

Paige Carter (she/her) is a third year at Purdue University pursuing degrees in political science and global studies, originally from Evansville, Indiana. She is passionate about empowering others through education and firmly believes in the power of her generation to shift the gun culture narrative to make all communities safer. On campus, she is a tour guide for University Residences, a Dean’s Ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts, and is co-founding a reproductive justice club. Outside of school, she loves visiting national parks and learning how to crochet.

Young man smiling.

Reyansh Gangal (he/him) is a high school sophomore from Fremont, California. He became interested in the Youth Council because he’s passionate about wanting to change our deadly gun culture. In his free time, Reyansh enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, and playing video games.

Sarsha O’Sullivan (she/her) is a high school junior from LaGrange Park, IL. She has always had a passion for gun violence prevention which was only intensified after two guns were found in the parking lot of her school the day of her freshman year homecoming dance. At her school Sarsha is involved with the SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) club, waterpolo team, and swim team. Through SAVE, Sarsha has worked to prevent gun violence in her school. However, she desired to achieve a more national and deeply rooted impact on this issue rather than just in her community. She is looking forward to working with Project Unloaded to promote their mission to change the cultural narrative surrounding guns.

Young man smiling.

Shiven Patel (he/him) is a high school junior from Fremont, CA. He became interested in gun violence prevention after a shooting occurred in the parking lot of his school’s football game. Shiven is also extremely passionate about science and has been involved in multiple research programs, primarily focusing on neuroscience and psychology. His hobbies include going to the gym, learning about history, watching basketball, and playing fantasy football.

Young woman smiling.

Stephanie Diaz (she/her) is a high school senior in Highland Park, IL. She has been engaged in gun violence prevention work since a mass shooting devastated her hometown. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys reading new books, spending time outdoors with friends, and volunteering to mentor kids in her community. 

Young woman smiling.

Zoe Kaufman (she/her) is a first year at Brown University, originally from Evanston, IL. She’s excited to be part of the Youth Council to educate her peers, advocate for a shift in gun culture, and aid communities like her own that have been largely impacted by gun violence. Zoe is passionate about social justice issues such as gun violence, reproductive rights, and migration. She spends much of her time connecting with the refugee community through her non-profit organization, Refugees are Served Here. She also loves to travel to new places, write, play volleyball, and go thrifting.

Young woman smiling.

Gun culture is … what makes people believe that they’re safer armed. Many Americans, especially young people, believe they’re safer with a gun in their home. … But many young people are also open to changing their minds about this.

– Lillian Lee-Sin to the Augusta Chronicle, November 2022

Youth Council in the News

Project Unloaded Youth Council - Seeking Applicants

Project Unloaded, an organization working to create a new cultural narrative that guns make us less safe, is seeking applicants for its 2023-2024 Youth Council. The council, which will be made up of 12 – 16 young people ages 15 – 20, will be a critical part of Project Unloaded’s upcoming campaigns and strategic planning.

What will members of the Youth Council do?

Members of the council will be asked to weigh in on upcoming Project Unloaded strategies and campaigns, support the creation of content and materials for Project Unloaded programming, as well as speak out on the issue of guns in our homes, neighborhoods and communities.

The council will meet virtually once every month to discuss upcoming Project Unloaded programs, hear updates on how current programming is progressing, and brainstorm new projects that the organization should take on. There will also be one in-person meeting that all Youth Council members are expected to attend, with travel expenses paid by Project Unloaded. In between monthly meetings, members of the council can expect to hear from Project Unloaded staff at least bi-weekly over email, with requests like giving feedback on an upcoming campaign or tactic, or creating social media content, such as graphic feed posts for Instagram and short form videos for TikTok.

The council will have some duties that are public-facing. On rare occasions, they may be asked to be quoted on behalf of Project Unloaded in a statement to the media or to be interviewed by a reporter about their work with Project Unloaded. In cases like these, members of the council would receive media training and support throughout the request. All members of the council would also be publicly named on the Project Unloaded website. Members of the council will be selected annually, with the expectation that members would serve a year-long term, though some may extend their participation beyond the year.

Why should I apply for the Project Unloaded Youth Council?

For young people who are concerned about gun violence and making their communities safer, this is an opportunity to take action. By being part of the Youth Council, you’ll be able to help shape future campaigns to educate other young people on the risks of having a gun.

Additionally, council members will have opportunities for leadership as part of the council, become stronger public speakers through media training and experience, and understand more about how non-profit organizations work. The first council will run from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. Each member of the council will also receive a $999 stipend for their time and work with Project Unloaded. The stipend will be paid in installments.

How to apply to the Project Unloaded Youth Council

Fill out the brief application available here. If under 18, applicants must submit a signed parental consent form to All minors must have their parents’ permission to contact us and must be at least 15 to participate.

Applications are due to the Project Unloaded team by May 26, 2023. Applicants moving forward in the process will then be asked to take part in a brief video call with Project Unloaded staff to learn more about being on the council and answer a few follow up questions about their interest in working with Project Unloaded. The council’s first meeting will be in the fall of 2023.

Privacy Notice

All applications and all interaction with participants and parents will be subject to the privacy practices disclosed in our Participant Privacy Notice.