Youth Empowerment Project

OUR STAFF

Melissa Sawyer

Co-Founder & Executive Director/CEO

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: dmccall@youthempowermentproject.org

Tania Dall


Director of Communications

Tania Dall

Director of Communications

Email: tdall@youthempowermentproject.org

James Melohn


Chief Financial Officer

James Melohn

Chief Financial Officer

Email: jmelohn@youthempowermentproject.org

Nicole Woolfolk


Director of Special Projects

Nicole Woolfolk

Director of Special Projects

Email: nwoolfolk@youthempowermentproject.org

YEP Full-Time Staff

Darren Alridge


Para Instructor - YEP Enriches

Darren Alridge

Para Instructor - YEP Enriches

Email: dalridge@youthempowermentproject.org

Kendrick Branch


Retail Manager - YEP Works

Kendrick Branch

Retail Manager - YEP Works

Email: kbranch@youthempowermentproject.org

Landrea Brazile


Retail Assistant Manager - YEP Works

Landrea Brazile

Retail Assistant Manager - YEP Works

Email: lbrazile@youthempowermentproject.org

Adrian Brenneman


Instructor & Curriculum Specialist - YEP Educates

Adrian Brenneman

Instructor & Curriculum Specialist - YEP Educates

Email: abrenneman@youthempowermentproject.org

Leonard Carlisle


Program Assistant - YEP Educates

Leonard Carlisle

Program Assistant - YEP Educates

Email: lcarlisle@youthempowermentproject.org

August Collins


Juvenile Justice Program Specialist - YEP Mentors

August Collins

Juvenile Justice Program Specialist - YEP Mentors

Email: acollins@youthempowermentproject.org

John Emery


Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

John Emery

Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Email: jemery@youthempowermentproject.org

Lamar Fortuna


Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Lamar Fortuna

Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Email: lfortuna@youthempowermentproject.org

Renell Gibbs


Senior Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Renell Gibbs

Senior Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Email: rgibbs@youthempowermentproject.org

Trashanda Grayes


Lead Instructor - YEP Educates

Trashanda Grayes

Lead Instructor - YEP Educates

Email: tgrayes@youthempowermentproject.org

Jasmine Hunter


Program Assistant - YEP Enriches

Jasmine Hunter

Program Assistant - YEP Enriches

Email: jhunter@youthempowermentproject.org

Jessica Irving-Marin


Village Program Director - YEP Educates

Jessica Irving-Marin

Village Program Director - YEP Educates

Email: jirving@youthempowermentproject.org

Bernie January


Lead Graphic Design Mentor - YEP Works

Bernie January

Lead Graphic Design Mentor - YEP Works

Email: bjanuary@youthempowermentproject.org

Chabre Johnson


Juvenile Justice Program Director - Orleans Parish - YEP Mentors

Chabre Johnson

Juvenile Justice Program Director - Orleans Parish - YEP Mentors

Email: cjohnson@youthempowermentproject.org

Lexus Jordan


Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Lexus Jordan

Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Email: ljordan@youthempowermentproject.org

Woody Joseph


Bike Mechanic - YEP Works

Woody Joseph

Bike Mechanic - YEP Works

Email: wjoseph@youthempowermentproject.org

Cedric Lee


Custodian

Cedric Lee

Amanda Lindsey


Youth Services Coordinator - YEP Works

Amanda Lindsey

Youth Services Coordinator - YEP Works

Email: alindsey@youthempowermentproject.org

Jeffrey Mika


Data Administrator

Jeffrey Mika

Data Administrator

Email: jmika@youthempowermentproject.org

Marc Roberson


Retail Manager - YEP Works

Marc Roberson

Retail Manager - YEP Works

Email: mroberson@youthempowermentproject.org

Wanda Rogers


Instructor - YEP Educates

Wanda Rogers

Instructor - YEP Educates

Email: wrogers@youthempowermentproject.org

Shana Rubenstein


Director of YEP Enriches

Shana Rubenstein

Director of YEP Enriches

Email: srubenstein@youthempowermentproject.org

Lynne Schneider


Instructor - YEP Educates

Lynne Schneider

Instructor - YEP Educates

Email: lschneider@youthempowermentproject.org

Michele Seymour


Transition Services Coordinator - YEP Educates

Michele Seymour

Transition Services Coordinator - YEP Educates

Email: mseymour@youthempowermentproject.org

Nakita Shavers


Music & Arts Coordinator - YEP Enriches

Nakita Shavers

Music & Arts Coordinator - YEP Enriches

Email: nshavers@youthempowermentproject.org

Charlene Tarver


Drop-in Center Coordinator/Data Specialist - YEP Educates

Charlene Tarver

Drop-in Center Coordinator/Data Specialist - YEP Educates

Email: ctarver@youthempowermentproject.org

Ashley Teamer


Design Works Manager - YEP Works

Ashley Teamer

Design Works Manager - YEP Works

Email: ateamer@youthempowermentproject.org

Catrina Trumble


Senior Youth Advocate - YEP Educates

Catrina Trumble

Senior Youth Advocate - YEP Educates

Email: ctrumble@youthempowermentproject.org

Peola Trumble-McKinnis


Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Peola Trumble-McKinnis

Youth Advocate - YEP Mentors

Email: pmckinnis@youthempowermentproject.org

Sandra Washington


Juvenile Justice Program Director - St. Charles Parish - YEP Mentors

Sandra Washington

Juvenile Justice Program Director - St. Charles Parish - YEP Mentors

Email: swashington@youthempowermentproject.org

Brice White


Director of YEP Works

Brice White

Director of YEP Works

Email: bwhite@youthempowermentproject.org

Donna Wolf


Executive Assistant

Donna Wolf

Executive Assistant

Email: dwolf@youthempowermentproject.org