The YEP works to ensure youth involved with Mano a Mano graduate, find stable employment and develop healthy life skills.

The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) was established in 2000, and started out as a project funded by Workforce Investment Act (WIA) dollars.

Although formally established in 2000, the YEP in fact grew out of Mano a Mano’s after school programs that started in the mid-nineties.

Our programming in the nineties was an effort to help the rapidly growing Latino population in Salem-Keizer, who came primarily from California, Texas, New Mexico, etc.

Although developed locally, our program is informed by the model developed by the Washington, D.C.-based, Latin American Youth Center’s Promotor Pathway program.

Our Philosophy

We believe:

Positive relationships are key to a successful youth program;
In a long term commitment to youth (4 years average);
Culture is an asset and a protective factor;
Youth shouldn’t have to be institutionalized to receive services;
Youth services should not criminalize youth.

Our Youth

YEP participants are youth ages 11 to 24. Most are Latinos or youth of color from throughout the Salem-Keizer area.

Basic Supports

Afterschool drop-in center;
Leadership development opportunities;
Social and cultural celebrations;
Information and referral to community services.

Additional Supports

Case Management;
Paid/Unpaid Work Experience;
Systems navigation;
and other help as needed.

protective factor framework


Social Connections

Knowledge of Youth Development

Concrete Supports in Times of Need

Cognitive and Social-Emotional Competence

Equity, Social Justice, & Intersectiona-lity


Promotores are young adults who serve in various roles in our program.

Some Promotores (such as older youth) serve as small group leaders, and mentor their peers in leadership development.

Others, have case loads focusing on helping participants overcome barriers to graduation, employment and personal life goals.

The latter typically work with youth who report toxic stress, low resilience, and are otherwise disconnected (or at risk of becoming disconnected) from family, school and community. Such youth typically experience many personal and systemic trauma, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and contact with the School-to-Prison Pipeline. We’ve observed such youth benefit from 2+ hours weekly of involvement, long term (2 years minimum).


95% Graduation


Reduced Stress


Increased Resilience


Lower teen pregnancy rates than County

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