Our Staff

Ahmen Cabral 

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 Saxby

YLAT Facilitator


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.

Cheri Crossman

YLAT Facilitator


Cheri was one of the founding members of YLAT, and has been involved in leadership and advocacy work ever since. At the age of 11, Cheri entered foster care, which is when she knew she wanted to work with other youth in care. Cheri understands the challenges and stigmas that young people face, and understands the resiliency they hold.  She believes in the power and hope for others who share commonalities in their stories. Cheri is a CASA volunteer and uses her personal and professional experiences to support youth to use their voice to promote the changes they want in their lives.  Cheri loves running, yoga and Cross Fit. She shares this love of the outdoors and sports with her husband and three children. Cheri is excited to work with YLAT in a new role to facilitate YLAT meetings, training, and other events!

Tara Chabot

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.

Chip Curry

YLAT Facilitator


Chip Curry is thrilled to be joining the YLAT team. He has had the pleasure of working with the Muskie YLAT folks for almost eleven years and has heard lots of great things about the amazing adult and youth leaders. Chip is passionate about making education accessible and empowering for all students. He works at UROCK (a University of Maine System College Center) where he advises and supports students. In co-facilitating the Rockland YLAT group he hopes to have fun, meet new folks,  learn about the challenges facing youth in care, and support the group to make a positive contribution. Chip’s interests include curling, canoeing,  local politics, and community theater.

Lily Maass

YLAT Facilitatior

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. 

Melissa Allen

Policy Associate

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.

MSW Candidate, 2021

Intern, Youth and Community Engagement (YCE)

Alison found personal healing working with children and youth to find positive pathways to accomplish goals and tasks. She is committed to improving the child welfare system from her experiences, kids, and people in general to help people flourish when they have the support they need.

Alison became connected with YLAT in the spring of 2019 through a previous field placement with Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine. She is currently a Master of Social Work student at the University of Southern Maine (USM) and works as a Graduate Assistant with Veterans Services at USM.

In the summers, Alison enjoys being a Nanny, outside activities, including hiking with her dog and working in her garden. Alison’s career goal is to own a farm where she can utilize horses to facilitate groups. After graduation, Alison plans to find employment involving work benefitting parents and children around challenging behaviors and build positive parenting skills.

Alison Nolan

Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT)

YLAT is a joint project between Maine’s Youth in Foster Care, The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and the Muskie School at University of Southern Maine. YLAT is committed to improving the short-term and long-term outcomes for youth who are or have been in foster care.

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YLAT, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, PO Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300, phone: 207-780-5861