Youth Empowerment Project

OUR STAFF

Melissa Sawyer

Co-Founder / Executive Director

msawyer@youthempowermentproject.org

Melissa is a Founder and the Executive Director of the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). Melissa received her B.A. from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and her M.Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

Melissa first came to New Orleans through Teach for America (TFA), spending two years teaching at Booker T. Washington High School. After completing TFA, Melissa self-designed a graduate program at HGSE that focused on community-based alternatives to incarceration, urban education reform and disconnected youth. Melissa returned to New Orleans after HGSE and spent the next three years working with the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), helping to reform the state’s juvenile justice system.

In 2004, Melissa and two colleagues started YEP to address the specific needs of young people involved in the juvenile justice system. Over the past thirteen years, Melissa has expanded YEP’s mission significantly. The organization now reaches over 1200 young people annually and more than 66 percent of participants are not engaged with the juvenile or criminal justice system. YEP is now the largest and most comprehensive organization in the New Orleans region that addresses the needs of underserved, court-involved and out-of-school youth.

Melissa sits on various committees and boards and she has garnered widespread recognition for her leadership in the youth development and juvenile justice fields. Melissa was recently recognized by Gambit Weekly as the 2016 New Orleanian of the Year.

Leadership Team

Jerome Jupiter


Deputy Director

Jerome Jupiter

Deputy Director

Email: jjupiter@youthempowermentproject.org

Darrin McCall


Director of Programs

Darrin McCall

Director of Programs

Email: dmcall@youthempowermentproject.org

Megan Faunce


Director of Operations

Megan Faunce

Director of Operations

Email: mfaunce@youthempowermentproject.org

Stephanie Hotard


Director of Development

Stephanie Hotard

Director of Development

Email: shotard@youthempowermentproject.org

Tania Dall


Director of Communications

Tania Dall

Director of Communications

Email: tdall@youthempowermentproject.org

YEP FULL-TIME STAFF

Darren Alridge


Para Instructor

Darren Alridge

Para Instructor

Email: dalridge@youthempowermentproject.org

Danny Bonaventura


Youth Advocate

Danny Bonaventura

Kendrick Branch


Retail Manager

Kendrick Branch

Retail Manager

Email: kbranch@youthempowermentproject.org

Adrian Brenneman


Instructor

Adrian Brenneman

Leonard Carlisle


Senior Youth Advocate

Leonard Carlisle

Senior Youth Advocate

Email: lcarlisle@youthempowermentproject.org

August Collins


Juvenile Justice Program Specialist

August Collins

Juvenile Justice Program Specialist

Email: acollins@youthempowermentproject.org

John Emery


Youth Advocate

John Emery

Youth Advocate

Email: jemery@youthempowermentproject.org

Renell Gibbs


Senior Youth Advocate

Renell Gibbs

Senior Youth Advocate

Email: rgibbs@youthempowermentproject.org

Trashanda Grayes


Lead Instructor

Trashanda Grayes

Lead Instructor

Email: tgrayes@youthempowermentproject.org

Jaleel Holmes


Retail Assistant Manager

Jaleel Holmes

Retail Assistant Manager

Email: jholmes@youthempowermentproject.org

Jasmine Hunter


Program Assistant

Jasmine Hunter

Program Assistant

Email: jhunter@youthempowermentproject.org

Jessica Irving-Marin


Village Program Director

Jessica Irving-Marin

Village Program Director

Email: jirving@youthempowermentproject.org

Bernie January


Lead Graphic Design Mentor

Bernie January

Lead Graphic Design Mentor

Email: bjanuary@youthempowermentproject.org

Chabre Johnson


Juvenile Justice Program Director

Chabre Johnson

Juvenile Justice Program Director

Email: cjohnson@youthempowermentproject.org

Woody Joseph


Bike Mechanic

Woody Joseph

Cedric Lee


Custodian

Cedric Lee

Jeffrey Mika


Data Administrator

Jeffrey Mika

Data Administrator

Email: jmika@youthempowermentproject.org

Samantha Miller


Transition Services Coordinator

Samantha Miller

Transition Services Coordinator

Email: smiller@youthempowermentproject.org

Marc Roberson


Retail Manager

Marc Roberson

Wanda Rogers


Instructor

Wanda Rogers

Shana Rubenstein


Enrichment Services Coordinator

Shana Rubenstein

Enrichment Services Coordinator

Email: srubenstein@youthempowermentproject.org

Michele Seymour


Transition Services Coordinator

Michele Seymour

Transition Services Coordinator

Email: mseymour@youthempowermentproject.org

Amanda Talbert


Youth Services Coordinator

Amanda Talbert

Youth Services Coordinator

Email: atalbert@youthempowermentproject.org

Charlene Tarver


Drop-in Center Coordinator/Data Specialist

Charlene Tarver

Drop-in Center Coordinator/Data Specialist

Email: ctarver@youthempowermentproject.org

Catrina Trumble


Senior Youth Advocate

Catrina Trumble

Senior Youth Advocate

Email: ctrumble@youthempowermentproject.org

Peola Trumble-McKinnis


Youth Advocate

Peola Trumble-McKinnis

Sandra Washington


Program Coordinator

Sandra Washington

Program Coordinator

Email: swashington@youthempowermentproject.org

Brice White


Trafigura Work & Learn Center Program Director

Brice White

Trafigura Work & Learn Center Program Director

Email: bwhite@youthempowermentproject.org

Donna Wolf


Executive Assistant

Donna Wolf

Executive Assistant

Email: dwolf@youthempowermentproject.org

Alberta Wright


Creative Digital Media Manager

Alberta Wright

Creative Digital Media Manager

Email: awright@youthempowermentproject.org