Melynn founded YouthWorks in 2001 and, in the years since, has established it as a model for youth development practices. Originally from the state of Washington, Melynn earned her BA from Boston University and her MA in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy from the Phillips Graduate Institute in California. After moving to New Mexico, Melynn became a New Mexico Licensed Professional Counselor and in 2001 combined her knowledge and experience to establish YouthWorks. Today, the organization is recognized as an alternative education standard and a model for helping youth build life skills, achieve their educational goals, avoid violence and substance abuse, and gain employment.
Heather Vigil Clark
Chief of Operations
Heather co-leads YouthWorks as chief of operations, and as the lead case manager, she oversees all case management staff. A native of Santa Fe, Heather received her BA in Psychology and Foreign Languages and her MA in Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University. Before joining YouthWorks in 2011, Heather worked in retail and tax preparation, gaining extensive accounting, management, and customer service experience. At YouthWorks, Heather has held multiple positions, giving her a broad view that she has leveraged to network extensively within the community to help YouthWorks access the multitude of resources necessary to assist disconnected youth.
Devin oversees all aspects of workforce development, assisting students with everything from basic job searches to comprehensive career development and planning. Devin has a diverse background in human services. He has worked with homeless and at-risk youth, individuals with disabilities, and has provided workforce development services and training for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients. Devin has worked in the non-profit and human service field for almost 15 years, and has worked with a variety of organizations in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New Mexico. Devin holds a BA in Leadership and Organizational Studies from the University of Denver.
Counseling Services Supervisor
Madigan Chandler is the lead counselor at YouthWorks and oversees all counseling services. In addition to being a mental health counselor, she has experience working with youth in treatment foster care, counseling in schools, working with adjudicated youth and adults, and helping displaced and homeless youth find housing, stability, and their inner wealth. Madigan is passionate about meeting each young person where they present, finding their strengths, and supporting their process of problem solving as they learn and grow. She is a native of Santa Fe and involved in several projects in the community that support the well-being of youth and their families.
Abaris De Los Santos
Abaris brings to his role as an academic instructor at YouthWorks experience in creating lessons to fit a variety of learning environments. Abaris, a native of Northern New Mexico, obtained his Associates Degree in Applied Science of Culinary Arts in 2006, but previously had more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. During travels abroad to learn more about food and culture, Abaris received TEFL certification to teach English as a foreign language. During time in Indonesia and Colombia teaching English, Abaris began online Bachelor degree studies at Marylhurst University in Sustainable Business and is scheduled to graduate in early 2017.
Tom first came to YouthWorks as a member of AmeriCorps VISTA, serving with the Santa Fe Birth to Career Collaboration. After completing his year of service, Tom realized he wanted to return to teaching but wanted an experience other than returning to public school. Tom has extensive experience teaching special education and culinary arts in a variety of settings—in public high schools, in an alternative placement setting, and in a technical center. He has an M.Ed in special education and a BS in career and technical education, credentials that make him a good fit for the YouthWorks program.
Cecilia is a case manager at Youthworks. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice and has an extensive background in accounting principles, bookkeeping, records and data management, and business reporting. She has worked as a bookkeeper, among other positions, at both Albertsons and Sprouts, as well as with Liberty Tax as a tax preparer for eight years. Cecilia is a naturalized citizen from Mexico and is fluent in Spanish and English. She’s skilled at assisting youth and families who are seeking Dream Act-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Status, as well as other necessary resources for family, education, and work status stabilization.
As office manager, Laura provides administrative support in the YouthWorks office. Her goal is to relieve the burden of paperwork that distracts staff from fully implementing their mission to help disconnected youth become engaged and valued members of their communities. Laura received her BA from St. John’s College in 2007 and has been a nonprofit advocate since she interned in an AmeriCorps program in San Jose, California. There she worked at a grief support organization and also counseled small groups in the girls’ juvenile hall. This experience gave her a deep appreciation of the work nonprofits do to benefit their communities.
YouthBuild Construction Manager
Kaleb is the construction manager for YouthBuild. As an Hispanic Studies major at Indiana University (IU), he studied abroad in Peru. While at IU, Kaleb volunteered as a tutor with the nonprofit Light & Leadership Initiative, worked for Outdoor Adventures as a trip leader, and served on the board of the Oxfam Club. In the summer of 2016, Kaleb joined a nonprofit-sponsored bike ride across the U.S. to raise awareness of and support for affordable housing. Kaleb moved to Santa Fe as an Americorps volunteer to work with Habitat for Humanity. Kaleb aspires to work in the solar industry while maintaining a connection to nonprofits and youth development.
Field Crew Supervisor
Born and raised in Santa Fe, Edgar graduated from Capital High in 2010, while working part-time in maintenance and as a groundskeeper at a condominium complex. He later got a job at El Tesoro Café as a dishwasher and worked his way up from there–moving on to food prep, waiting tables, serving as cashier, then becoming a manager, and ultimately a bookkeeper. Edgar graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2016 with a BA in Administration, while also earning credit hours in both in Architecture and Fine Arts. Edgar is working with YouthWorks as the on-site crew leader for the Youth Conservation Corps.
As an Americorps VISTA, Kineret brings to Youthworks more than 15 years of experience and dedication to youth education, community development, and wilderness-based learning. She is grateful to be back in Santa Fe, supporting our youth as they find meaningful, valued places in our community. Originally from southern California, Kineret spent most of the past decade abroad—in Israel/Palestine, New Zealand, Gambia, and Eastern India—working alongside passionate folks in international non-violence education, social art practice, and peace work. Kineret holds a B.A. from Barnard College in New York, and advanced degrees in Public Health and Secondary Education from the University of Auckland.
Case Manager / Data & Evaluation Specialist
Hannah is a recent graduate of Montana State University, where she earned a BA in Family and Consumer Sciences with a minor in Psychology. Before moving to Santa Fe, Hannah worked with nonprofits in Montana, serving as a family advancement specialist and staffing crisis hotlines to provide emotional support and connect callers to the resources they needed. Hannah began her time at Youthworks as part of a team to facilitate and oversee ShelterNow!, a homeless shelter for young adults launched in January 2016. She is now playing a dual role, serving as a case manager and as a data management specialist.