Interview date: 5.22.13
Melissa Sawyer is Executive Director of The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). YEP, which began in 2004, runs seven local programs. One of the programs is New Orleans Providing Literacy to All Youth. This program offers adult education and GED preparation in the New Orleans area; it focuses on out-of-school youth ages 16 to 24 years.
YEP's flagship program is its reintegration program that addresses the needs of young people who are trying to reenter society after being incarcerated. Melissa notes that, "It's really hard for anyone coming back to a community after being incarcerated…We [YEP] have grown really adept in terms of recognizing the individualized and holistic needs of the young people." YEP is the only local organization that is working with the State Office of Juvenile Justice to provide juvenile reentry services. Melissa gives an overview of all seven programs, including YEP's free six-week summer camp program. This podcast is the first of two: next week, Darrin McCall will describe YEP's Trafigura Work and Learn Center.
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