Community and School Centric
LEAP serves children who live in five neighborhoods in New Haven: Dixwell, Dwight-Kensington, Fair Haven, the Hill, and Newhallville. These neighborhoods have child poverty rates ranging from 35% to 58%, significantly higher than the statewide average of 15%. They are also severely racially segregated. 95% of children in our program are Black and/or Latinx, and virtually all come from families with scarce opportunity for economic mobility. LEAP runs most of our after-school and summer programming in five New Haven Public Schools located in these neighborhoods, all free of charge, making us highly accessible to children and families
Multi-Tier Mentorship Model
Youth are organized into four age groups: Children (ages 7-12), Leaders-in-Training (ages 13-15), Junior Counselors (high school students), and Senior Counselors (college students). The counselors are trained and paid a fair wage to be strong role models for children and young teens, as well as guide them through a rich variety of activities. LEAP programming is tailored toward each child’s stage in development. For example, Leaders-in-Training start to take on new responsibilities by interning under counselors. Junior Counselors participate in extensive college prep and career advising to prepare them for high school graduation.
LEAP runs year-round and is split into three components: fall after-school, spring after-school, and summer camp. Our after-school program is three hours a day, Monday-Thursday. Our summer camp is eight hours a day, Monday-Friday. Many children stay with us for multiple components. Some stay for several years, moving up through our age groups.
City's Largest Youth Employer
Counselor salaries make up the largest percentage of LEAP’s over $2 million operating budget. LEAP is the largest employer of youth in New Haven: we train and hire over 200 young adults each year. Employing youth after school and over the summer is proven by research to be highly effective in reducing youth crime and mortality rates.
A Safe Space for Kids to Be Kids
LEAP's community center on 31 Jefferson Street is home to the LEAP Children’s Library, swimming pool, computer lab, teaching kitchen, gym, dance studio, and community garden. These are all incredibly valuable resources that our children rarely have access to outside of LEAP.