YLAT Program Coordinator/Facilitator
Ahmen Cabral has been working with YLAT since 2007. She is continually inspired by the energy and positive change that is created when strong youth and adult partnerships are developed. “Each YLAT member – youth and adults – bring experience, knowledge, and leadership to create positive change in child welfare.” Ahmen is also involved in the Southern Maine Youth Transition Network comprised of community members, youth, and providers that aims to increase employment, post-secondary education, community opportunities, and supports for youth aging out of foster care. You will see Ahmen at YLAT meetings, panel presentations, community meetings and the annual Teen Conference. Ahmen enjoys spending time with her family and running with Chase, her chocolate lab.
Shannon joined the YLAT team in 2011, and has been inspired ever since! Hearing the experiences of young people, and what youth in care are currently facing motivates Shannon to think creatively with her partners to create sustainable changes and reforms to the child welfare system in Maine. Shannon often describes her connections with young people as “humbling”, and feels truly lucky to be a part of their journeys. You’ll see Shannon facilitating at YLAT meetings, panel presentations and training, and as the voice behind the YLAT social media pages. Currently, Shannon serves as the Adult Liaison for Maine’s partnership with the Foster Youth in Action, a national organization that brings a network of programs, like YLAT, together to create a larger voice for youth in foster care. When Shannon isn’t at work she enjoys spending time with her daughters, reading a good book and catching up on her favorite TV shows with her fur babies.
Lily Maass joined YLAT in 2019 after studying Child Development and designing and implementing teen programming in a variety of settings. Lily’s passion for working with youth and young adults stems from the belief that all young people hold an inherent ability to strengthen the systems and communities they engage with through sharing their expertise and unique perspectives to enact change. Outside of work, Lily loves to try new recipes, relax on the beaches and in the woods of Maine, and spend time sitting on the porch with friends listening to old music.
YLAT Policy Assistant I
Tara joined the Cutler Institute in July of 2016. She is a Policy Associate I supporting several teams and projects. She works on multiple projects with the YCE team, Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT), Maine Youth Transition Collaborative (MYTC), and Southern Maine Youth Transition Network (SMYTN) and LEAP. I am honored to be part of these teams working to make a better world for the people of Maine. I enjoy the outdoors of Maine with hiking, fishing, and hunting.
Melissa joined the Cutler Institute in December of 2019. Over the past 20 years, she has been inspired by and supported youth and families in various capacities. For the past ten years, Melissa worked at a Therapeutic Foster Care Agency in Maine, where she had the opportunity to listen to voices of foster care youth and resource parents. Melissa is excited to have the chance to redesign the Resource Parent Training at Cutler. She feels very fortunate to be able to work with youth who experience Foster Care, and strives to impact the child welfare community's changes that will positively affect the lives of youth.
Swathi Sivasubramanian joined the YLAT team in 2021 after working as a middle school science teacher. As a teacher, Swathi was inspired every day by the strength and conviction of her students’ voices as they proposed creative, compassionate solutions to the injustices and inequities surrounding them. From her students’ activism and her training in Kingian nonviolence, Swathi learned to believe fiercely in the power of collective action. She is so excited to work alongside young people who care about each other and about bettering the child welfare system.
Swathi is also involved with Opportunity Scholars, which helps connect people with lived experience of incarceration to higher education and fulfilling careers, and the Young People’s Caucus, which brings together youth from across the state to inform decision-makers about the issues that impact the lives and futures of young people here in Maine.
Outside of work, Swathi loves to explore new hikes, sing and play guitar, and lounge with her cats.
Jessica McCaffrey (she, her, hers) is an Intern completing her Master's in Social Work here at the University of Southern Maine. She has always enjoyed working with youth in the community and has truly been inspired by each of their stories. When she is not in school or at work Jessica enjoys getting lost in a good book, spending time with her partner, and being anywhere near the ocean and lakes of Maine. In the next 5 -10 years Jessica hopes to have a family of her own and to be settled in a career that helps support youth in accomplishing their goals and dreams in any positive fashion.