Youth Empowerment Project
YEP Design Works meets with Mayor LaToya Cantrell

YEP youth present logo creations at New Orleans City Hall

Young people and staff in YEP’s Design Works Program took a field trip to New Orleans City Hall on September 6. The group had a one-on-one meeting with Mayor LaToya Cantrell in her office. The Design Works presentation consisted of logo iterations for the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families. Mayor Cantrell shared her feedback with the YEP team and her staff. YEP Design Works apprentices Elton and Sidney created the designs with help from YEP Design Works staff Bernie January and Ashley Teamer. Make sure to look out for the new logo once it is approved by the Cantrell Administration and is officially rolled out!

Design Works is part of YEP’s Work and Learn Center which includes Bike Works and Thrift Works. Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 learn valuable employment skills including creative digital media, customer service and bike mechanics. The program includes life skills classes where youth learn financial literacy, how to write a resumé and ace a job interview. If you or someone you know would like to hire the YEP Design Works studio for any creative digital media projects like graphic design, please take a moment to visit the Design Works website.

YEP beneficiary of the New Orleans Saints 50/50 Raffle

On Sunday, September 16, a group of YEP staff and supporters woke up bright and early for a special raffle ticket group training session inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Their mission was to help sell 50/50 raffle tickets at the New Orleans Saints home game against the Cleveland Browns. The New Orleans Saints had chosen YEP as the beneficiary of a portion of the raffle proceeds from ticket sales that day.

How it works: As part of the Saints on-going initiative to give back to the community, half of the net proceeds collected from the 50/50 raffle benefit a designated charitable organization or cause, while one lucky football fan wins the remaining half of those proceeds.

Thanks to the generosity of fans a total of $106,280 was raised on September 16. YEP would like to extend a special thank you to the New Orleans Saints organization for its generosity and for choosing YEP as its 50/50 beneficiary.

YEP + YLC Screening & Panel Discussion of the ‘Children of Central City’ Documentary

On September 19, YEP in conjunction with the Young Leadership Council (YLC) hosted a special screening of the documentary ‘Children of Central City’ for YEP’s 40under40 cohort, YLC members and other special guests!

Times-Picayune ( reporters Jonathan Bullington and Richard Webster, along with other members of their team, talked about the year-long project and the special series of reports. Webster helped moderate a panel discussion inside YEP’s Youth Center following the documentary screening.

The distinguished group of panelists who volunteered their time to take part in the event included YEP Lead Counselor & Percussion Instructor Don Davis, Louisiana State Representative Royce Duplessis (District 93), Retired Criminal District Court Judge Calvin Johnson and Emily Wolff, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Youth & Families. The panelists shared their individual perspectives on childhood trauma, violence in the community, juvenile justice reform and other key issues showcased in the documentary.

Thank you to New Orleans City Councilmembers Jay H. Banks, Helena Moreno and Jason Williams for stopping by to share their thoughts on these important issues impacting us all. Other guests included a representative from Governor John Bel Edwards Office, St. Charles Parish Judge Tim Marcel, Link Stryjewski Foundation’s Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski along with a representative from the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.

YEP appreciates Katie’s Restaurant for donating its catering services for the networking event!

YEP in the news…

YEP Executive Director/CEO & Co-Founder Melissa Sawyer featured in the Times-Picayune tricentennial 300 for 300 project. Read it here.

YEP staff member Leonard Carlisle profiled in WWL-TV’s ‘Neighborhood Heroes’ series. Watch the WWL-TV feature news story here.

YEP Design Works was profiled by the National Afterschool Association for the program’s creative digital media employment readiness component. Read more here about YEP’s ‘Job Training Through Digital Arts.’

New Orleans Saints mention YEP as 50/50 raffle beneficiary in the Saints Gameday Guide 2018: Week 2 vs. Browns.

WDSU mentioned YEP’s participation in the New Orleans Job Corps 2018 International Day of Peace march and community resource fair.YEP staff manned an information desk at the community outreach event held on September 21 in New Orleans.

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