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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.

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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.




Board of Directors.


Chris LeBato, Board President

Lynne Burkart, Board Vice President

Postlethwaite and Netterville

Suzanne Rusovich, Board Vice President

Franchesca Lorio, Board Treasurer
Advantage Capital

Laura Politz, Board Secretary

Ben Allen

PerkUp Financial Health

Elizabeth Boh

Gretchen Chase

Clayton Ventures


Scot Craig

Katie's Restaurant

Donna Luke Derokey

Stirling Properties

Jay Dumas

Dumas Family Dentistry

Eli Feinstein

Fox Henning

Amanda Hammack

Judge Calvin Johnson (Ret.)

Leroy Prout

HRI Properties

Elicia Broussard Sheridan

New Orleans Saints

Jackie Weill

Weill Consulting Group