Young People For Team
Joy Lawson is the Director of YP4. Joy began her career as a student organizer at the University of Kansas. There she worked with local organizations to ensure Kansas youth received medically accurate sex education by campaigning local and state school boards. For her work on sex education Joy was awarded Choice USA's Generation-to-Generation Chapter Leadership Award and soon after joined the field staff at Choice USA as a National Field Associate and later as the Midwestern States Field Coordinator. At Choice USA she worked to build a stronger progressive movement by training and developing a diverse base of young reproductive justice leaders.
Joy joined the People For staff in February 2010 as YP4's Advanced Leadership and Alumni Program Manager. Over the past several years Joy has worked to ensure that the relationships and work completed during the YP4 Fellowship are sustained and supported over the long-term. Under her leadership over 60% of the alumni of Young People For have reengaged with the program and the YP4 Alumni Network has become a community of young progressives committed to cultivating and supporting YP4 programs and fellows through mentorship, networking, advanced leadership trainings and much more.
Joy is a Midwest Academy graduate and a 2006 Grassroots Organizing Weekend trainer. She comes to YP4 with training in grassroots organizing, leadership development, and capacity building. Committed to mentorship, Joy currently acts as a coach for the New Leaders Fellowship housed in the Center for Progressive Leadership.
Andrew Humphrey is a Fellowship Associate at YP4. He hails from Little Rock, Arkansas, where he attended the historic Little Rock Central High School. Andrew is a 2010 graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina, where he majored in Sociology and minored in Chinese, and where he worked to enhance the student experience as the Head Resident Advisor for Diversity Initiatives and as a Senior Admissions Fellow. After graduation, Andrew moved to Beijing, China and worked as Associate Counselor/SAT Prep Coach for Far View Academic Consulting. In 2011, Andrew returned to North Carolina as a Deputy Field Organizer for Organizing for America, through which work he continued his advocacy for inclusive, progressive policies and institutions that honor the diversity and autonomy of our nation’s communities.
Chagan Sanathu is a Fellowship Associate at YP4. Chagan is a 2010 YP4 Fellow and a recent graduate of Goshen College with a degree in Business and Public Relations. As a student leader at Goshen, she held a variety of leadership positions including serving as a Senate chair and the International Student Club leader. Last summer, Chagan was selected to participate in the New Leaders Internship program with the Center for Progressive Leadership, where she developed skills to be a part of the progressive movement. She also interned at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, researching the effects of child tax credit and earned income tax credit on low-income communities, especially on women who survived domestic violence. Her focus lies on women’s issues, raising awareness of domestic violence and sexually abused women in South Asian communities.
Laura Williamson is the Fellowship Program Manager at YP4. Growing up in North Carolina at a time that the Latino population grew by 393%, she learned first-hand the profound positive impact immigrants have on the U.S. communities they call home. She also witnessed the severe implications of the widespread xenophobia for these immigrants and their families. As an undergraduate the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Laura co-founded and led a student organization providing long-term disaster relief to Gulf Coast communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After graduation, Laura relocated to New Orleans and began working on immigrant justice in a city whose deep historical Black-White dichotomy left it unprepared for the influx of immigrants arriving to rebuild. As the Education Outreach Coordinator for Puentes New Orleans, a non-profit community development organization working with the growing Latino population in the city, Laura had the opportunity to learn from and support amazing youth leaders as they organized for equity in their schools and communities. Laura arrived at YP4 in July 2012 and is thrilled to continue her growth and development by working with such an extraordinary group of young leaders.
Advanced Leadership & Alumni Department
Matt Gravatt is the Advanced Leadership Coordinator at Young People For. He hails from Asheville, North Carolina and is a graduate of Appalachian State University with degrees in History and Spanish. During his study, Matt served as President and Secretary-General for the International Relations Association; in this role he led foreign policy crisis simulations for talented young student leaders from throughout the South. In 2007, Matt began organizing on his campus and in his community. In 2008 he was part of the campus leadership team for President Obama before joining a congressional campaign as a field organizer, and then as Deputy Field Director. A dedicated campaigner, he served on the 2010 field team in North Carolina’s US Senate primary and then as Regional Field Organizer for a Virginia congressional contest and the VA coordinated campaign. In the 2012 cycle, he was Regional Field Director in the North Carolina gubernatorial primary, and went on to manage a state legislative campaign in Western North Carolina. Matt is committed to building progressive political power through empowering young people with the tools and training to be change agents and elected officials in their communities—particularly in rural areas and the throughout the South.
Paloma Ibañez is the Advanced Leadership & Alumni Program Manager at YP4. She is a 2007 YP4 Fellow and a graduate of Northern Arizona University (NAU) with a degree in Environmental Studies. Her academic focus in sustainability, community, and biocultural diversity, led to her involvement in the student environmental caucus where she collaborated with students, faculty and staff to foster a “green” community at NAU. Projects she worked on included helping establish a sustainable cafe that uses local products in campus dining and creating a short film highlighting green initiatives to incoming students. Paloma was president of her sorority which emphasizes the mentorship of youth and increasing access to higher education for women and under-represented communities. She currently serves as her chapter’s Alumna Advisor. Paloma is an alumnus of the Center for Progressive Leadership’s New Leaders Fellowship Program where is she working to build an alumni network to continue to connect and grow the progressive movement.
Kelly Mears is a sophomore at Union College in Schenectady, New York majoring in Political Science and minoring in Gender Studies. Originally from Oakhurst, California, Kelly is heavily influenced by the importance of the diversity of communities and the differences of regions. While at Union, Kelly has worked on the mayoral campaign for Roger Hull and the Alliance Party and helped to found an Amnesty International chapter while serving on the Sexual Assault and Harassment Committee on campus. She strives to bring attention to gender issues across disciplines while continuing her studies of international relations, particularly in the Middle East/ North Africa Region. Her faith in the potential of young people to remind us of our priorities and capabilities has inspired her to pursue the empowerment of young people while her love of travel brings in a global perspective. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys scrapbooking, SCUBA diving with her mom, and visiting farmers markets and flea markets.
Caitlin Quinn is from Petaluma, California. She recently completed her second year at UC Berkeley, where she is studying Political Science, Public Policy, and Ethnic Studies. She is heavily involved in the progressive political community on her campus, and has worked to politicize and mobilize the queer community at Cal through work in student government. She believes strongly in the importance of engaging young folks of all communities in politics, and worked with YP4 in 2012 to help register students and community members to vote. In her free time, Caitlin likes exploring new places, trying to cook, and reading academic articles she probably should have read for class.