Staff & Support

PYO Staff

Julie Wells PYO

Julie Wells

Executive Director

After working with youth in non-profits for 23 years, the only way to stay energized and motivated is to love the people you work with. From PYO’s Board to staff to volunteers, families and students, I have never had such a diverse team of people working together to truly change the outcomes for young people. I am inspired by making connections and recognizing resiliency and I am not afraid to fail. I am raising two daughters as a single mom so like never before, I can relate to the parents- not just the teens- that we serve. The struggle is real…parenting teens is hard! Away from work, I am surrounded by friends and family that I love and I like to spend time reading, dancing, travelling and watching Netflix in bed with my kids.
E-mail: [email protected]

Miriam Valle PYO

Miriam Valle

Director of Operations

I have been working in the Non-Profit Sector for 10 years, it all started as a job opportunity and then it became my purpose in life. I have always felt passionate about people, but my heart and soul has always drifted towards our youth. Having a connection with students and families is satisfying because I know we are building relationships and a place of comfort and support, in which we can all come together and work through any situation from the smallest to the biggest. It takes more than one person of support to help someone make it through life. PYO is a place of support and opportunities, we all work together and give our heart and soul to make things happen for our students and families. We are a family that’s unbreakable and that’s what every person needs, someone stable and available to keep you together throughout life.
E-mail: [email protected]

Carlton Koonce PYO

Carlton Koonce

Workforce Development Director

The main reason I got involved with PYO is that I care about youth and community. I am a firm believer in that they will be leading us all in the near future and we want to make sure we’re being led by responsible people laden with integrity. I want to show teens that the world is bigger than their own little corner of Durham. I think I bring good energy to PYO along with a wealth of knowledge about our community and its people. I also bring love and understanding of our PYO students to the organization because I grew up like many of them.
E-mail: [email protected]

Adam Barnard PYO

Adam Barnard

Director of Programs

Adam didn’t picture himself working with teens when he moved to Durham. He came to North Carolina to study religion at Duke after completing his undergraduate degree in philosophy in Texas. While Adam was completing his degree, he had the fortunate opportunity to get involved with Partners for Youth Opportunity. Adam fell in love with the students and the program model and just stuck around. He’s been the Director of Programs since the summer of 2015 and has a passion for helping students identify their interests, think critically about the world around them, and feel empowered to effect change and achieve their goals. Adam has his hands in all of the areas of PYO to some extent. If you’re interested in volunteering with PYO in any capacity, he’s your guy. When Adam isn’t at work, hanging out with students or returning emails, he spends his time reading, playing music, or hanging out with his wife, Emily, and dog, Chloe.
E-mail: [email protected]

Dosali Reed-Bandele PYO

Dosali Reed Bandele

Academic Director

I have a strong passion for education and that passion continues to be fueled by the intelligence and resilience of the many young people I work with. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I started working in education by working as a junior camp counselor the summer of my freshman year in high school. That summer started a 15+ year career in teaching, youth programming and curriculum development. I live in Durham with my husband and four children who I love spending time with dancing, playing Scrabble and having current event debates. One of my favorite quotes that I believe embodies my work at Partners for Youth Opportunity is from a song called “Free Your Dreams” by Chantae Cann. “REACH UP & touch the sky, fly high…JUMP UP and kiss the sun, you’ve already won…LOOK UP but don’t look back, you’re on the right track…WAKE UP & free your dreams into reality!”
E-mail: [email protected]

Shady Kimzey

Associate Director of Programs

I am a (recently-graduated!) educator, media-maker, and communications practitioner from Raleigh, North Carolina. I am happily back working with PYO after getting a Master’s in Social Justice Education in at UMass Amherst. For several summers in college I interned for PYO, and it was always the place where I felt the most seen as a young person. I am especially interested in working for youth liberation, specifically in the South. PYO is hands down the most impactful place I have ever worked, where each student gets a variety of resources and opportunities based on their interests.
I love pop culture, community events, and *bops*. Reach out to me about financial literacy, health literacy, tutoring, job sites, mentoring, or community engagement! I liaison between all the programs.
E-mail: [email protected]

Dedicated Volunteers

Amy Daubert PYO

Amy Daubert

College Support Specialist

Before her 4 children were born, Amy was a counselor in the Durham schools. Fast forward 27 years, with her last child was heading out to college, Amy found through PYO, the opportunity to work with students again while developing PYO”S comprehensive college program. Amy has served on several boards of non-profits, including Partners for Youth Opportunity, focusing primarily on development. When she is not helping students with their college search and applications, you can find Amy gardening, cooking, sewing or taking long walks around Chapel Hill with her dogs.
E-mail: am[email protected]

Dan Brenner PYO

Dan Brenner

Workforce Development Consultant

Dan is a retired educator who recently relocated to North Carolina from New York and worked as a teacher of Career and Technical Education for thirty years where he taught courses in Commercial Photography, Film Production and TV/Video production. In addition to teaching, Dan served as the school’s Job Developer and Job Placement Counselor securing part time employment for students in the areas of advertising, architecture, interior design, illustration, theater tech, photography and video. Upon retiring from teaching, Dan spent the next three years as a Video Journalist for “My Long Island,” a news program that aired on Verizon Fios One. He is very thrilled to be working again with students, helping them to secure employment and watching them grow into young adults.

Contract Support

Susan McCraw PYO

Susan McCraw

College Retention/ Financial Aid

I have worked with students and families in a variety of settings in a career spanning more than 30 years. My experience as a special education teacher, behavioral specialist, parent educator, student advocate, and parent coach and home visitor for teenage moms gave me valuable insight when I began working with Partners for Youth as the Academic Coordinator in 2006. My roles changed and the organization grew, becoming Partners for Youth Opportunity, but my interest in teaching, strengthening relationships, forging connections, creating community, and supporting students in achieving their goals never wavered. After a brief time away, I have returned in a smaller capacity to provide support to PYO college students and assist students and families navigating the financial aid process. I am eager to continue fostering relationships, problem solving and finding opportunities for students.

PYO Interns

Rachel Lundberg

PYO Summer Intern

Rachel Lundberg graduated from Appalachian State University in December 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in human services and a social work minor. She moved back to the Cary area and is now attending North Carolina State University to earn her master’s degree in social work. In her free time she loves to paint, travel, read, cook and spend time with friends and family. Lundberg said the sheer age range of students PYO works with has been impressive.

“I have never been at a non-profit organization that strives to get at-risk students through so many different stages of their lives, middle school, high school and college,” she said. “The financial literacy is also an important component because most students go into college not even knowing how to set up a savings account or how to set aside money from paychecks every month.”
E-mail: [email protected]

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Connect with Us

Get in Touch

Partners for Youth Opportunity  
1309 Halley Street
Durham, NC 27707 USA

Mail : [email protected]
Phone : (919) 536-4230