YouthWorks Executive Director
Melynn Schuyler is the Founder and Executive Director of YouthWorks. Originally from the state of Washington, Melynn trapped pocket gophers in New Mexico while studying biology, lived, worked and hitch-hiked across Japan, earned her BA in International Relations from Boston University and her MA in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy from the Phillips Graduate Institute in California. Melynn has three sons, raised as a result of the help of YouthWorks participants, joined as a large family to assist each other to meet success.
YouthWorks was created as a community-based organization to connect marginalized “opportunity” youth in Santa Fe to hands on workforce training, life skills training, alternative education instruction, case management and counseling and career and college placement. In addition to having created a caring, open-door youth-serving organization with wrap-around services, Melynn has polished YouthWorks into an agile, creative nonprofit that addresses social equity through an evolution of initiatives that are entrepreneurial, collaborative, replicable and sustainable.
Education Program Director
Michael moved to Santa Fe from Jeffersonville, Indiana, where he taught Communication Studies at Indiana University Southeast. Michael grew up in Houston, Texas, and worked in the hospitality industry while earning his Master’s degree at University of North Texas. Michael then moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and began his career as a teacher. He taught at Indiana University Southeast for 26 years before packing up and heading west.
Michael and his husband, and their dog Pibble moved to Santa Fe in spring 2022. In addition to his work in education, he is a published author and a regular contributor to PopMatters magazine.
Geegee is a passionate advocate for all youth, ensuring all participants know that they are capable and supported.
Geegee is originally from Santa Fe, and she is a graduate from YouthWorks programs. Geegee originally came to YouthWorks as a Santa Fe Youth Corps participant, and today is working as a peer mentor to guide other youth toward success. She is learning all aspects of YouthWorks client navigation and case management to assist with the demands of client/participant needs.
Karen Cain is a New Mexico licensed clinical mental health counselor. She has been employed as YouthWorks Counseling Director since 2018. She received her Master’s Degree in counseling in 1997. Karen provides individual and family counseling for all YouthWorks program youth, ages 16-24. At YouthWorks Karen provides daily assessments of clients and also provides 24/7 text, phone, and email response for clients in crisis.“My greatest reward as a therapist is helping my clients explore ways to make the changes in their lives that will allow them to look forward to the future with hope.” Karen is also a lifelong animal rights activist and is the executive director of a local non-profit, Street Homeless Animal Project which provides veterinary care, food and more for the companion animals of people experiencing homelessness.
Workforce Development Assistant Director
Randy Castillo was born and raised in New Mexico starting in the South Valley in Albuquerque, New Mexico and graduating from Highland High School. He has been a small business owner as well as trained in mediation through Common Ground mediation services in Santa Fe, NM.
Culinary Operations Coordinator
Lizbeth comes to YouthWorks with extensive experience in property management and affordable housing. She first joined YouthWorks on a part-time basis in the winter of 2017, helping manage the ShelterNow! Program, an emergency overnight shelter for young people that was hosted in local houses of worship.
Today, Lizbeth is a full-time staffer and serves as a case manager coordinating services to meet the needs of our young people, with special focus on housing issues. Lizbeth also oversees an intensive community monitoring program for youth in the juvenile justice system, working particularly with many of our Spanish-speaking clients.
YouthBuild Program Manager and Construction Program Manager
Johnny Gee was born and raised in Santa Fe New Mexico. Johnny left Santa Fe to study in Oregon at Portland State University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Community Development, only to find that he left his heart in New Mexico. He has since moved back to Santa Fe to retrieve it, and to give back to the city that raised him. Johnny is the YouthBuild Construction Trainer and is a certified Core Curriculum Instructor with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).
Having grown up in Santa Fe, Johnny is passionate about the future of Santa Fe youth and loves watching his students build better lives for themselves one nail at a time.
John Paul Granillo
Chief of Operations
John Paul (JP) Granillo was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He fulfills many capacities at YouthWorks, directly overseeing daily operations and logistics and facilitating youth in work-based learning, trades programming, community service projects, leadership development, and youth mentoring. JP brings lived experience, from growing up in similar circumstances as the youth and the community served by YouthWorks, overcoming adjudication, extreme poverty, and lack of positive mentoring as a young person. JP is a painter, sculptor, muralist, activist for social justice and believes in genuine connection and communication to address and mentor youth and inspire staff at YouthWorks.
Education Program Assistant
Kaylee Gutierrez is an instructional assistant of YouthWorks. Originally from Costa Rica and raised in Guatemala, she has been working with the impoverished youth of Guatemala since the age of 14 years old. She taught Spanish for three years before she began teaching at YouthWorks. Kaylee then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her little baby, only to find her passion and love for teaching and trying to make a positive change in young people’s lives.
Cynthia joined Youthworks in August of 2020. Cynthia brings her skills of owning her own bookkeeping business for 13 years. She is happy for the opportunity to work in an office environment and make new friendships.
She is grateful for this opportunity to work and assist in the daily efforts of all the great work that Youthworks does.
Workforce Development Director
Rachel assists youth with career planning and helps to develop work opportunities for YouthWorks youth by growing relationships with employment partners in New Mexico. Rachel earned her master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico before serving in Peace Corps Nepal. In Nepal, Rachel worked as a Food Security Specialist, designing and implementing trainings for farmers and women’s groups on sustainable agriculture and nutrition.
With the goal of helping community members to realize their strength through supportive actions and connections, Rachel has worked for many years with nonprofit organizations that focus on environmental advocacy, environmental education, and sustainable agriculture. When not at YouthWorks, Rachel volunteers with the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation to restore watersheds and wildlife habitat and enjoys hiking and rock climbing in the public lands of the desert southwest.
Levi was born and raised in Santa Fe NM, and after dropping out of high school he went to YouthWorks to acquire his GED. After getting his GED with YouthWorks he left Santa Fe at 16 to search for what he wanted to do in life. After trying a few different fields he decided to join the Coast Guard. He became an electrician’s mate and served 6 years. He is a lover of the outdoors and after getting out of the Coast Guard he decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. Finally life returned him back to Santa Fe where he has decided to try and help the youth as he was helped.