Staff

 

Bernadette Souza

Executive Director

New Bedford native and life-long City resident, Bernadette is deeply committed to her community, especially its youth. She is a longtime youth advocate and has significant experience in youth programming by virtue of her long tenure at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford. She contributes her time, talent and resources by giving back, or as she says “paying it forward”, in numerous ways throughout the community. She served on the Board of Trustees for Our Sisters’ School since 2008 and now serves on the Advisory Board. She was honored by Leadership Southcoast and was presented with the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Bernadette attended Assumption College, where she received a Certification in Youth Ministries. She is a recipient of many awards: 2010 YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts. “Women of Distinction” award, “Grand Marshall” for 2009 Cape Verdean Recognition Parade, recipient of the Martha Briggs Educational Club, Inc. “Women of Vision” award, NAACP “Community Service” award, Elks” Distinguished Citizenship” award and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth “Professor Gloria Waite African American” award. Bernadette is a graduate of the Class of 2013 Leadership SouthCoast (a rigorous leadership training development program). With enormous energy and a deep seeded passion for youth development, Bernadette is an incredible asset to Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Inc.

 

Chance Perks

Director of Operations

A native of the New Bedford area, Chance is devoted to our city's coexistence with the natural world here on the south coast. He is a graduate of Bristol County Agricultural High School and holds a bachelor's degree in Forest Management. Chance’s first involvement with Y.O.U. began as a volunteer in helping to establish the garden that is now a key part of the organization and was then later asked to be an Executive Board member to help lead the organization with his unique perspectives.

Previously in Chance’s adventure he loved getting his first exposure to youth leadership as a member of the Trustees of Reservations Youth Conservation Corps management team. As his career progressed he proudly served the community as the City Arborist and Superintendent of Park Maintenance and Forestry with the New Bedford Department of Public Infrastructure. Teaching members of the community, especially youth, is a favorite way for Chance to express his excitement for the great outdoors and to encourage folks to find their connection with the rhythms of nature. Chance is excited to welcome your kid to Y.O.U.!

 

Carissa Wills-DeMello

Development & Program Coordinator

Carissa’s adventure with Y.O.U. began with a chance breakfast encounter with our Executive Director, Bernadette;  a few days and a visit to the Warming House later, and she was onboard! Carissa brings a passion for connecting youth with their city, their environment and themselves to Y.O.U.. She is a graduate of Dartmouth High School and Brown University and has experience in community development and public health work.  

Born and raised in the area, Carissa has a deep appreciation for the natural and cultural bounty of the South Coast. Having returned in late 2016 from the Peace Corps, she continues her service by sharing the values of culture and community that she admired most about her country of service, Fiji, back home. Here at Y.O.U. her role evolves with our growing organization—some days she’s facilitating programs and working in the garden, others she’s developing social media outreach and communications. With a propensity for creativity and a demeanor that our youth gravitate to, Carissa is surely a utility member of the Y.O.U. team!

 
 

Logan McNamara

Instructor

Logan is one of our most senior instructors and has been a key component of Y.O.U. for 8 years running. Logan graduated from Dartmouth High School with honors and then attended UMass Dartmouth for undergraduate studies. As an actively certified lifeguard, Logan enables our programs to have 'fun in the sun' at the beach where ever we go in a supervised and safe manner. In addition to his time with us, he is a full time teachers' assistant at Dartmouth High as a gifted Math wiz and is a basketball coach at the Atlantis Charter School. His latest fun project has him as a guest speaker on a regional basketball TV talk show. Logan's fun and outgoing character adds color and excitement that our youth naturally gravitate to. 

 
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Gina Bourassa

Instructor

As the longest-serving member of the Y.O.U. Staff (and a City native & resident herself) Gina has significant experience in helping kids to stay safe in an urban environment. Her many years as an employee of NB Public Schools have also enabled her to fully understand the challenges facing our local students every single day. She consistently uses her innate ability for nurturing for the benefit of the many kids who seek out her guidance & support.  In addition to her many other skills, Gina is also an excellent cook & both the students & Staff are the lucky recipients of her wonderful culinary creations.