Youth Empowerment Project

Dear YEP Supporters,

Before you settle into that Thanksgiving Day feast, we wanted to share some exciting highlights from November, which included a community service event with YEP supporter Strong City at our Youth Center! YEP also hosted and facilitated a productive peer-to-peer learning exchange with members of the Brazilian-based nonprofit Rede Cidadã!

Strong City donates Thanksgiving boxes to YEP families!

On November 2, the Strong City team, alongside YEP youth participants and staff, teamed up for a special community service project inside our Youth Center. A total of 40 volunteers helped assemble approximately 100 Thanksgiving boxes for YEP families in need. Special thanks to Strong City for donating the supplies for the Thanksgiving boxes along with a $10,000 donation to YEP! Strong City was founded by Tulane Medical School graduate Dr. Peter Gold as a way for cities to share resources and empower underserved youth. The foundation aims to help end cycles of violence within communities, starting with New Orleans where Gold was a victim of a violent shooting back in November of 2015. Gold has since recovered and has transformed his personal tragedy to help others. Strong City chose YEP as its first community partner in 2016.

Part II: YEP hosts Brazilian-based nonprofit Rede Cidadã in peer-to-peer learning exchange in New Orleans

For three days, (November 8-10) YEP hosted and facilitated a peer-to-peer learning exchange with members of Brazilian-based nonprofit Rede Cidadã and representatives from the International Youth Foundation (IYF). The exchange was made possible by IYF and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Our guests toured YEP’s programs and were able to collaborate with YEP staff and youth participants. Staff also took the group on site visits to the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice’s Bridge City Center for Youth and to meet YEP youth employment partner Calcasieu Private Dining by Chef Donald Link.

YEP Executive Director Melissa Sawyer recognized by InspireNOLA Charter Schools

YEP’s Executive Director & Co-Founder Melissa Sawyer was recognized for her dedication and hard work at YEP and was honored with a special award from InspireNOLA Charter Schools on Nov. 4.

40under40 End of Year Celebration

On November 17, YEP hosted a 40under40 end of year celebration at the Martine Chaisson Gallery! Approximately 60 guests turned out for the inspiring evening where they heard from YEP supporters and young people benefiting from our programs. Thank you to all of the members of the 2017 cohort who together donated a total of $20,000 throughout the year to help support YEP! YEP is also excited to welcome our next 2018 cohort and we are still recruiting new faces.

What is 40under40? 40 individuals, under the age of 40, donate $40/per month to help YEP build a stronger New Orleans! The young professionals also take part in networking events throughout the year. If you’re interested in making a positive difference in the lives of young people and would like to get involved. Please email:

Central City Festival marks 11th Anniversary!

On November 4, YEP joined forces with our neighbors along Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard for the 11th annual Central City Festival. YEP youth participants, volunteers and staff enjoyed grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, kids games, an inflatable obstacle course and beautiful weather!

YEP in the news…

  • Strong City’s Thanksgiving donation of food boxes to YEP families in need was featured by> WWL-TV > FOX 8 News > WDSU > Times-Picayune > New Orleans Advocate
  • YEP Deputy Director Jerome Jupiter and Trafigura Work & Learn Center Director Brice White were interviewed on November 6 by The Offer Radio Hour on WHIV radio regarding YEP’s job training and educational programming

Happy Thanksgiving from YEP!

Rotisserie chicken, green beans, mac & cheese, and homemade pies were all on the menu! An early Thanksgiving dinner was held inside our Youth Center on November 20 to celebrate the upcoming holiday.

For additional information please contact: Tania Dall, YEP’s Director of Communications – – Direct: 504-522-1316 X 210