Youth Empowerment Project

OUR STAFF

Melissa Sawyer

Co-Founder & Executive Director/CEO

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. She is currently the Vice President of the Board of New Pathways New Orleans and a Board Member with the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR).

Melissa was a Young Leadership Council Role Model (2014), she was the Zurich Classic Community Impact Recipient (2015), Gambit Weekly recognized her as the New Orleanian of the Year (2016), the New Orleans Bar Association presented her with the Liberty Bell (2017) and she is featured in the Times-Picayune Tricentennial 300 for 300 Project which highlights 300 people “who have made New Orleans, New Orleans” (2018).

 

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

James Melohn


Chief Financial Officer

James Melohn

Chief Financial Officer

Email: jmelohn@youthempowermentproject.org

Holly Heine


Director of Operations

Holly Heine

Director of Operations

Email: hheine@youthempowermentproject.org

Mike Kantor


Director of Development & Communications

Mike Kantor

Director of Development & Communications

Email: mkantor@youthempowermentproject.org

YEP Administrative Staff

Nicole Woolfolk


Director of Special Projects

Nicole Woolfolk

Director of Special Projects

Email: nwoolfolk@youthempowermentproject.org

Nora Cowlin


Development Coordinator

Nora Cowlin

Development Coordinator

Email: ncowlin@youthempowermentproject.org

Sam Glatstein


Communications Coordinator

Sam Glatstein

Communications Coordinator

Email: sglatstein@youthempowermentproject.org

Jeffrey Mika


Data Administrator

Jeffrey Mika

Data Administrator

Email: jmika@youthempowermentproject.org

Donna Wolf


Executive Assistant

Donna Wolf

Executive Assistant

Email: dwolf@youthempowermentproject.org

Cedric Lee


Facilities Manager

Cedric Lee

Facilities Manager

Email: clee@youthempowermentproject.org

YEP Educates Staff

Jessica Irving-Marin


Director, YEP Educates

Jessica Irving-Marin

Director, YEP Educates

Email: jirving@youthempowermentproject.org

Keith Carter


Youth Advocate

Keith Carter

Youth Advocate

Don Tropez


Para-Instructor

Don Tropez

Para-Instructor

Email: dtropez@youthempowermentproject.org

Adrian Brenneman


Instructor & Curriculum Specialist

Adrian Brenneman

Instructor & Curriculum Specialist

Email: abrenneman@youthempowermentproject.org

Leonard Carlisle


Program Assistant

Leonard Carlisle

Program Assistant

Email: lcarlisle@youthempowermentproject.org

Wanda Rogers


Associate Instructor & West Bank Site Coordinator

Wanda Rogers

Associate Instructor & West Bank Site Coordinator

Email: wrogers@youthempowermentproject.org

Lynne Schneider


Instructor

Lynne Schneider

Michele Seymour


Transition Services Coordinator

Michele Seymour

Transition Services Coordinator

Email: mseymour@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

YEP Enriches Staff

Shana Rubenstein


Director, YEP Enriches

Shana Rubenstein

Director, YEP Enriches

Email: srubenstein@youthempowermentproject.org

Vincent Anderson


Program Support Staff

Vincent Anderson

Program Support Staff

Email: vanderson@youthempowermentproject.org

Yasin Pierce


Program Support Staff

Yasin Pierce

Program Support Staff

Email: ypierce@youthempowermentproject.org

Jamon Williams


Program Support Staff

Jamon Williams

Program Support Staff

Email: jwilliams@youthempowermentproject.org

Darren Alridge


Para Instructor

Darren Alridge

Para Instructor

Email: dalridge@youthempowermentproject.org

Don Davis


Music & Arts Instructor

Don Davis

Music & Arts Instructor

Email: ddavis@youthempowermentproject.org

Jasmine Hunter


Program Assistant

Jasmine Hunter

Program Assistant

Email: jhunter@youthempowermentproject.org

Nakita Shavers


Music & Arts Coordinator

Nakita Shavers

Music & Arts Coordinator

Email: nshavers@youthempowermentproject.org

YEP Mentors Staff

Chabre Johnson


Juvenile Justice Program Director - Orleans Parish

Chabre Johnson

Juvenile Justice Program Director - Orleans Parish

Email: cjohnson@youthempowermentproject.org

Sandra Washington


Juvenile Justice Program Director - St. Charles Parish

Sandra Washington

Juvenile Justice Program Director - St. Charles Parish

Email: swashington@youthempowermentproject.org

John Butler


Youth Advocate

John Butler

Youth Advocate

Email: jbutler@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

Lamar Fortuna


Youth Advocate

Lamar Fortuna

Youth Advocate

Email: lfortuna@youthempowermentproject.org

Renell Gibbs


Senior Youth Advocate

Renell Gibbs

Senior Youth Advocate

Email: rgibbs@youthempowermentproject.org

Lexus Jordan


Youth Advocate

Lexus Jordan

Youth Advocate

Email: ljordan@youthempowermentproject.org

Peola Trumble-McKinnis


Youth & Family Advocate

Peola Trumble-McKinnis

Youth & Family Advocate

Email: pmckinnis@youthempowermentproject.org

YEP Works Staff

Brice White


Director, YEP Works

Brice White

Director, YEP Works

Email: bwhite@youthempowermentproject.org

Jihad Doucette


Design Works Mentor

Jihad Doucette

Design Works Mentor

Email: jdoucette@youthempowermentproject.org

Kendrick Branch


Bike Works Manager

Kendrick Branch

Bike Works Manager

Email: kbranch@youthempowermentproject.org

Landrea Brazile


Bike Works Assistant Manager

Landrea Brazile

Bike Works Assistant Manager

Email: lbrazile@youthempowermentproject.org

Marc Roberson


Thrift Works Manager

Marc Roberson

Thrift Works Manager

Email: mroberson@youthempowermentproject.org

Tasia Brooks


Thrift Works Assistant Manager

Tasia Brooks

Thrift Works Assistant Manager

Email: tbrooks@youthempowermentproject.org

Candice Henderson


Employment Services Coordinator

Candice Henderson

Employment Services Coordinator

Email: Chenderson@youthempowermentproject.org

Bernie January


Lead Graphic Design Mentor

Bernie January

Lead Graphic Design Mentor

Email: bjanuary@youthempowermentproject.org

Woody Joseph


Bike Works Mechanic

Woody Joseph

Bike Works Mechanic

Email: wjoseph@youthempowermentproject.org

Wynell Minor


Bike Works Mechanic

Wynell Minor

Bike Works Mechanic

Email: wminor@youthempowermentproject.org

Amanda Lindsey


Youth Services Coordinator

Amanda Lindsey

Youth Services Coordinator

Email: alindsey@youthempowermentproject.org

Melissa Tabeek


Soft Skills Instructor

Melissa Tabeek

Soft Skills Instructor

Email: mtabeek@youthempowermentproject.org

Ashley Teamer


Design Works Manager

Ashley Teamer

Design Works Manager

Email: ateamer@youthempowermentproject.org