Get To Know LEAP
LEAP trains New Haven college and public high school students to work with younger children, providing a literacy based curriculum as well as classes in the arts, computer science, swimming, athletics, camping, cooking and team building.
In LEAP’s summer program, we work with children five days a week and place our college student senior counselors to live in public housing developments and other neighborhood housing so they are accessible to children, learn about the neighborhoods’ strengths and weaknesses, and infuse role models in places that benefit from the introduction of college students as neighbors.
During the school year, LEAP operates six days a week, using four to one child to counselor ratios to help children complete homework, engage in our literacy based curriculum and enjoy a wide range of opportunities in the arts, sports, and science that respect children’s “multiple intelligences” and often are no longer available in urban public schools which must now spend the majority of their time meeting strict standardized testing goals in basic subjects.
LEAP serves as a national model for several reasons: First, we are working effectively in high poverty neighborhoods which face some of America’s toughest challenges. We go where the need is and work with the children who need us most. Second, LEAP looks to significantly impact these neighborhoods, building an institution that families come to rely upon, while working with a large number of children in a small defined area. Third, LEAP recruits its staff largely from the communities we serve. Over 90% of our college student senior counselors are African American or Latino while 100% of our junior counselors are residents of New Haven, many of whom started as younger children in LEAP. Fourth, LEAP believes different kids learn differently and that poverty limits access to different learning pathways.
A child may have tremendous capacity to program a computer but if she is never introduced to computer programming will never learn to do so. A young boy may really begin to open up and take on new challenges on an overnight camping trip in the wilderness but only if he is given the chance to camp. We provide these learning opportunities to children who would otherwise not have them.