Gun violence has been a prevalent social issue facing many young New Orleanians for several years.
Subsequently, the Youth Empowerment Project — a community-based not-for-profit organization founded in 2004 to assist young people returning to New Orleans from correctional facilities — emerged in the early 200s. Since Hurricane Katrina, the organization has expanded in order to meet the increased needs for juvenile re-entry programs in the community. YEP now maintains services at 7 locations, providing an annual 1,000 youths with GED and literacy services; job skill development; mentoring; case management; summer activities; and holistic services.
“We have relationships that we put a lot of emphasis on. The Youth Empowerment Program allows you to be connected, to become an extended family, to become a support system, to become a role model, to become somebody they look up to. So it has an effect on everybody,” says Director of YEP Reintegration Program August Collins.
Taylor Berry, a student in the Department of Film and Theatre at the University of New Orleans, interviews Collins about YEP and gun violence in the GNO.