Our Staff

Halli Ellis-Edwards

Co-Founder & Director or Programming

Halli has a passion for youth and has worked in various youth programs for the last 10 years, receiving extensive training in positive youth development. Her experience ranges from Site Supervisor of the Lyman Gilmore After School Program, GREAT Summer Youth Academy Counselor, Teen Center Facilitator and basketball coach for the Boys and Girls Club.  In 2008, Halli Co-Founded NEO.  In 2013, Halli received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Santa Cruz with a major in Sociology.

Hometown: Rough & Ready, CA

Current town: Nevada City, CA

Age: 28

School: University of California Santa Cruz

Degree: Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology

Hobbies: dancing, going on adventures, watching movies and eating popcorn, making videos, playing sports, creating things and hanging out with youth

Why NEO is important to you:  I’m drawn to people who, despite difficulties in life, can bring out the positive in themselves through their passions and talents and in others through encouragement and support. NEO allows me to surround myself with people who genuinely care and I get to meet so many wonderful and talented people while taking part in activities that I love (music, dancing, sports, dressing up in weird outfits). NEO is important because it creates opportunities for me, as well as many others, to invest in the lives of youth and I think that’s the greatest gift we could ever give. I see so much pain and suffering in the world, but giving our time, energy and attention to listen and validate the youth, we help them work through their difficult challenges and show them that they really are loved and that our actions can make a difference. When I invest in something and give my time, I want to be sure that it’s meaningful and that my ideas and concerns are heard. Investing in NEO, I know 100% that we are changing lives and I too am being transformed in the way I think, feel and see the world.


Lynn Skrukrud

Co-Founder & Director of Operations


Lynn grew up in Nevada County and became involved with leadership at a young age.   While in high school she served as the Drug Alcohol & Tobacco Commissioner on student council at Nevada Union.  When she was 19, Lynn realized that young people in Nevada County needed more than just education to help them make healthy lifestyle choices, so she teamed up with Halli to create NEO.   Lynn continued to lead NEO while attending college.  In 2012, she graduated from Sierra Nevada College with a  bachelor’s degree in Management Studies with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship.

Hometown: Penn Valley, CA

Current town: Nevada City, CA

Age: 28

School: Sierra Nevada College

Degree: Bachelor’s of Science in Management Studies & Entrepreneurship

Hobbies: hiking, painting, drawing, watching sunrises, exploring on windy days, NEO, going to concerts, road trips, and exploring new coffee houses.

Why NEO is important to you: I believe in being the change you want to see in the world and what I want to see is all young people making healthy choices so that they can reach their full potential! After seeing a series of negative consequences impacting my peers in high school I realized that traditional prevention wasn’t working.  I knew that something needed to be done to impact on connect with youth to create positive change.  NEO is important to me because it creates a platform for all youth to be empowered to make those healthy choices.