MISSION & HISTORY.
Youth Empowerment Project was founded in 2004 by three juvenile justice advocates to support formerly incarcerated young people as they transitioned back into their communities. It was the first program of its kind in the state of Louisiana. Since then, YEP has expanded to engage young people who live in poverty, are out of school or work, or have experienced trauma.
Today, we provide mentoring and youth advocacy, adult education and high school equivalency preparation, employment readiness and career exploration, and out-of-school time enrichment programming. As a community-based nonprofit, these programs have been developed in response to unmet community needs and are aligned with YEP’s core purpose, which is to empower young people to improve their lives and the lives of others.
Even before the pandemic, many young people and families in the Greater New Orleans area struggled to overcome the historical underinvestment in public education, limited access to living wage jobs, and an epidemic of mass incarceration. These systemic practices perpetuate inequities and limit the opportunities that certain individuals and families have for escaping poverty and the negative outcomes that result, including poor health, reduced life expectancy, stress, trauma, and crime.
YEP is committed to addressing these persistent inequities. Our goal is to connect young people to the opportunities, relationships, and resources they need to achieve their potential.YEP is an organization founded on the principle of caring for one another. The strength of our work is grounded in our ability to build strong relationships with young people, their families, and the community. Together, we can empower young people to improve their lives and the lives of others.
Our core value icons were designed by YEP youth interns on our Communications team.
We're so grateful to the individuals, companies, and foundations that support our work and share a vision for the kind of society we want for our children. Partners listed below include those who have made a donation of at least $10,000 in the past year.
THE YEP TEAM.
Board of Directors.
Chris LeBato, Board President
Lynne Burkart, Board Vice President
Postlethwaite and Netterville
Suzanne Rusovich, Board Vice President
Helene Cerise, Board Treasurer
Helene Cerise, LLC
Laura Politz, Board Secretary
PerkUp Financial Health
Dumas Family Dentistry
Judge Calvin Johnson (Ret.)
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP
Elicia Broussard Sheridan
New Orleans Saints
Weill Consulting Group