Our Mission:


Defiant Minds is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization empowering young people to discover and develop resilience, practice empathy and early peer intervention, take an active role in their mental wellness, and create change in their schools and communities.


Our Mission

The mission of Defiant Minds is to equip children, teens, and young adults in the District of Columbia with the mental resilience tools and training they need to survive and thrive in the face of any challenge, building a strong foundation for lifelong mental health and wellness.


Our Programs

Defiant Minds programs offer engaging discussions and learning activities for students on topics such as mental health awareness, mental resilience and brain training, dealing with stress and adversity, practicing self-care, being mindful, and more. Programs are tailored by grade level to ensure they are age appropriate and applicable to the challenges faced by young people at each life stage.



Designed for students in elementary school, typically grades 1-5. Our elementary school program helps students develop positive self-image, a sense of identity, and an appreciation of differences. Students express emotions through art, symbols, words, and motion, and practice identifying emotions in one another.




Designed for students in high school, typically grades 9-12. Our high school program involves deeper discussions with students about coping skills, personal narratives and growth, resilience and brain training, self-care practices, and available resources. Students identify an unmet mental wellness need in their school and design a SMART campaign to bring about change.



Designed for students in middle school, typically grades 6-8. Our middle school program continues to develop students’ sense of identity and positive self-image.  It also covers bullying, stigma, and pop culture depictions of mental health. Students create PSAs to raise awareness, promote understanding, and model compassion.




Designed for college-aged adults and young professionals, typically age 18 and above. Our college program focuses on the stresses associated with "adulting” and strategies for personal mastery.  Young adult participants explore their self-concept, behavioral patterns, core values, strengths, motivations, and fears through mindfulness meditation and self-evaluation exercises.


Get Started

One in five adolescents has a mental health disorder.  For the four in five that do not, they still have mental health!  Without support, any of the challenges associated with growing up can lead to poor academic performance, conflicts with family and friends, and more serious mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.  That's why focusing on youth mental wellness and resilience is an investment in a healthy future.  Here are ways you can help:


REQUEST a Program

Learn how you can bring Defiant Minds to your school, church, scout troop, or youth organization.


Browse our list of trusted mental health resources for those in need of additional information and support.


Read news and influencer stories related to resilience, coping skills, and positive mental health practices.

MAke A Donation

Help us bring Defiant Minds to more students and schools with your tax-deductible charitable contribution.

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Our Founder

Samantha Joy Fay is the founder of Defiant Minds, Inc.  She is a native Washingtonian, a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a volunteer Crisis Counselor for the Crisis Text Line.  Her passion for building resilience among youth and developing the skills for lifelong mental wellness was borne out of her life experience.