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Samantha Mariano

Assistant Project Manager

Samantha Mariano (she/her) is the Assistant Project Manager for CPLAN, providing administrative, logistical, and technical support as well as supervising our community organizers. She works with the team to develop new marketing & outreach strategies to engage with families through our website, social media and monthly email newsletter. 

“I was first exposed to the challenges that the traditional education system imposes on individuals with diverse learning needs when my younger sister was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and later bipolar disorder. Throughout high school she struggled immensely with managing her mental wellbeing while conforming to the rigid expectations of her teachers. My mother spent years advocating for my sister to ensure that she graduated with her diploma, despite the school’s unwillingness to work with her to understand how mental illness can show up in the classroom.

Today, 5 years after graduating from an alternative high school, my sister is the happiest and healthiest she’s ever been. She recognizes that her inability to achieve success in the traditional education system has no correlation with her worth as a person or deficiency, but rather the result of antiquated teaching practices that fail to take into account individual differences and recognize each student’s unique talents. 

Seeing this battle opened my eyes to the dire need for policies and programs that are aimed at supporting individuals with unique challenges. This motivated me to attend Boston University to study behavior and health, focusing on trauma studies and mental health interventions. Since graduating, I have worked in a variety of mental health settings, including community- based care, short term community crisis stabilization, and longer- term respite services, with the goal of increasing access to quality care for vulnerable populations. 

Fueled by the inequities I’ve witnessed in the school, mental health, and criminal justice systems, I have been committed to pushing for more thoughtful and intentional solutions, ensuring those that are affected are included in these decisions. Overall, I am driven by the hope that, someday, society will truly understand the benefits of diversity and see the value in embracing everyone’s unique perspectives.”

Samantha Mariano

Areas of Expertise

Navigating the Mental Health System, Trauma Informed Practices, Criminal Justice & Mass Incarceration, Nonprofit Management, Equitable Policies and Practices


  • NAMI South Shore Affiliate

  • Executive Committee Member, Correctional Reform Working Group

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