Youth Empowerment Project

Dear YEP Supporters:

We are proud to confirm that there is never a sluggish moment at the Youth Empowerment Project. The month of July wrapped up with the successful completion of all YEP summer programming including our Kids X-Press Summer Camp and Summer Scholars program. Between both programs, YEP enrolled over 100 children and young people from June to July.

Now it is time to switch gears and prepare for our fall programming which encompasses the YEP Enriches Afterschool program, a new intake of YEP Works participants who will learn valuable employment readiness skills, and the post-summer return of the YEP Educates’ Village Program which offers high school equivalency prep classes catered to students between the ages of 16 and 21.

Currently 4,684 miles away from New Orleans, a group of YEP youth and staff are taking part in an educational adventure to Brazil funded by the International Youth Foundation…

YEP is in Brazil for peer-to-peer learning exchange with local nonprofit, Rede Cidadã!

YEP youth and staff pictured this week with Rede Cidadã representatives in Brazil.

On July 28, nineteen of YEP’s youth and staff left New Orleans to travel to São Paulo, Brazil as part of an international learning exchange facilitated by the International Youth Foundation. They will return on August 4. During YEP’s time in Brazil the group is being hosted by Rede Cidadã – a local nonprofit working with underserved youth across the South American country.

For many in the group, this is their first time traveling internationally and, for a select few, this is their first time on a plane! We look forward to sharing with you more about their peer-to-peer learning exchange in YEP’s next update.

A Call to Action: YEP Executive Director & Board Vice President write Times-Picayune editorial

YEP Executive Director/CEO Melissa Sawyer     YEP Board Vice President Kenneth Polite Jr.

“As a city, we have the opportunity to collectively take action and counteract the damage that continued exposure to trauma is inflicting upon our children. But we need to care about our children enough to do something about it. And we need to act.”

YEP Co-Founder & Executive Director/CEO Melissa Sawyer and YEP Board Vice President Kenneth Polite Jr. pen insightful Times-Picayune editorial on concrete steps we can make to help uplift the lives of underserved youth in the community. Please take a moment to read it here.

Donor Spotlight: Strong City founders run NYC Triathlon to benefit YEP!

Strong City Founders Peter Gold and Nick Curran tackled the New York City Triathlon on Sunday, July 1 in support of YEP’s free-of-charge mentoring, educational, employment readiness and enrichment programs that support underserved young people across New Orleans.

Congratulations to the duo on a successful race and thank you both (and all 83 Strong City donors) for helping raise $6,570!



YEP ENRICHES: Back-to-School & Enrichment Services Fall Programming Wish List

Summer is winding down and children across New Orleans are gearing up to return to school along with youth in YEP’s Afterschool Program. Youth in the program are in need of basic school supplies to ensure that they have a positive start to the 2018-2019 academic year.

Please take a moment to look at YEP ENRICHES’ back-to-school and Fall programming Wish List and consider making a gift. Thank you for supporting YEP youth!

YEP MENTORS: Overcoming Life’s Thorns…

A lesson in self-esteem and overcoming “thorns in our life to be the beautiful roses that we are.” YEP’s Juvenile Justice Program Director Chabre Johnson also has incredible artistic talents. On July 10, she led a painting group of 10 YEP youth and staff at our St. Charles Parish site. The group talked about bullying, name calling and how the negativity affects other roses. Everyone walked away feeling empowered.

YEP in the news…

  • YEP nominates single mothers connected to YEP for Essence Fest surprise makeover with Janet Jackson’s personal stylist. Watch the WGNO report here. (You can read more about Laci & Catrina’s connection to YEP and their meeting with Janet Jackson in our upcoming newsletter. Stay tuned!).
  • YEP Director of Programs Darrin McCall interviewed by WWL Radio host Monica Pierre for her WWL Community Matters broadcast which aired on July 22. Listen here.
  • Strong City Founder Peter Gold and his Foundation’s partnership with YEP is featured on
  • YEP listed as a nonprofit worth supporting in the following Op-ed by the Times-Picayune Editorial Board.
  • YEP mentioned in New Orleans Advocate news story.

For additional information please contact YEP’s Director of Communications, Tania Dall at or call: 504-522-1316 x 210.