Youth Empowerment Project

Jaleel’s Story

YEP Staff Member & Alumni

Primary Program: Youth Futures Initiative (YFI)

Secondary Programs: Trafigura Work and Learn Center, NOPLAY

Jaleel Holmes currently helps manage Thrift Works a youth-run business within the Trafigura Work & Learn Center at YEP. Before taking on this new role he managed the JuiceBox where YEP youth made fresh handmade juice, sandwiches and snoballs for customers at the Roux Carre on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.

Jaleel was 16 when he started at YEP after a referral from his juvenile probation officer. He says motivation was never the problem but lack of the support and guidance was until he discovered YEP. YEP helped Jaleel replace his social security card, birth certificate and other critical documents needed to establish himself, all were damaged after Hurricane Katrina. He says because of YEP: “I was able to overcome obstacles, look to better myself and my future, and to look forward to things in life.” He works at YEP because of the environment and people.

Jaleel was also able to achieve his goals through mentoring and YEP programming in the Work & Learn Center and Summer Camp. Since joining YEP he has completed his GED and even bought a car. Working at YEP as an Alum-turned-Staff member is important because as Jaleel says: “if you are willing to do the work and make the effort, participants can make something out of the program, or do something better. YEP is a very great program helping young people.