PYO executive director joins Made in Durham Advisory Team

July 18, 2018
Julie Wells

Julie Wells, executive director of Partners for Youth Opportunity (PY0), has joined the Made in Durham Advisory Team.

The Advisory Team comprises representatives from youth-serving partner organizations in Durham who advise and connect the work of the community partnership that is creating an education-to-career system for Durham’s young people and building a strong local talent pipeline.

PYO is a nonprofit dedicated to ending generational poverty for the 125 students it serves by providing opportunities for educational attainment and economic stability. PYO’s nationally recognized savings program for teens has helped 60 students save $60,000 in less than three years through part-time internships.

Wells is a veteran of nonprofit work, immersing herself for 25 years in nonprofit culture and issues, from community advocacy to institutional change, that affect disenfranchised populations.

She began her career working with students with development disabilities, moved into work with students in the criminal justice system and has created replicated models of programs that support the most vulnerable populations in central North Carolina.

Through her work with difficult-to-engage populations, Wells has focused on research-based practices that help her connect with adolescents who are traditionally wary of adults, particularly those coming from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

In her seven-year tenure as head of PYO, she has led a merger of two small organizations into its current structure, leading to a 300% growth in the annual budget and number of students served.

Wells is a Duke University Durham Community Fellow, 2016 Goodman Fellow and recipient of Leadership Triangle’s 2017 Community Service Award.

Reach Wells at (919) 536-4230 or


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Made in Durham is a community partnership of educators, business, government, youth-serving nonprofits and young people mobilized around a shared vision that all of Durham’s youth will complete high school and a post-secondary credential and begin a rewarding career by the age of 25.
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