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“These past years at LEAP taught me to be self-seeking, determined, and how to be a leader. My long term plan is to work with kids as a physician assistant, and LEAP taught me how to work with kids.”

As a Junior Counselor at LEAP, Kimberly received the Stiefel Williams Family Scholarship and Jay Bovilsky Scholarship. She attends 

Johnson and Wales University.





“We do math games so we could go back to school and be smarter than we were the other year. When I was at school I used to get a lot of math questions wrong but now that we do math games, I know how to do them.”

Anivea has participated in LEAP during both the summer and the school year, and is excited to become a Leader in Training.

“The main things I took from LEAP were social interaction skills and then whatever topics my counselors were teaching us at the time. Being a Junior Counselor and Senior Counselor, I gained a lot of motivation and saw how much work is put into working with the kids. I was tasked with educating the kids and planning lessons and I realized how many things go into making a kid a kid and keeping them on the right track.”

Darnell is majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Gateway Community College. He started LEAP at 7 years old, went through the Children's Program and was a Junior Counselor before becoming a Senior Counselor.





“LEAP changed me to be good. When I wasn’t in LEAP I used to mess around and get in trouble but now it's helping me not get in trouble and get As and Bs. When I was in [the Children's Program] my counselor and I had a really good relationship. We used to have fun a lot and we had some of the same issues and obstacles to face. He helped me because he would tell me that whenever I need a break I could just tell him and I could go walk around.”

William has been a part of LEAP since he was 7 years old. His favorite activity is swimming and his favorite LEAP memory is of him and his friends dancing at Community Day.

“My favorite part of LEAP is that we do a lot of fun trips and I can meet new friends and I can go here to feel like myself. LEAP has taught me to be respectful to others and treat people the way you want to be treated.”

Tarique's favorite parts of LEAP have been Community Day, the camping trip and his visits to the art gallery. He wants to be an inventor when he grows up.





“LEAP taught me about my culture and to love myself for who I am. LEAP also taught me the importance of giving back to my community. Shout out to Ms. Keita – My site coordinator when I was a LEAP kid!”

As a Junior Counselor at LEAP, Kayla received the Regina Winters Scholarship and the Jay Bovilsky Scholarship. She attends Howard University.

“My favorite book I’ve read at LEAP is a history book about the Titanic and how it sunk. I liked it because it didn’t just say the Titanic sunk, it actually gave facts about what was on the Titanic, how many passengers were saved, how many passengers weren’t saved.”

Jeremiah's favorite part of LEAP is doing community service. Jeremiah likes science, math and reading, and wants to be an artist when he grows up.





“Before LEAP I was very reserved, I was more of a follower, and I would let people dictate what I did. Now, as a counselor, I find myself being more vocal. People come to me with questions about anything, not just about the program, but about life in general. This growth is something I can attribute to LEAP and is what anyone who steps through these doors can expect to get.”

Darius is a senior counselor at LEAP, and was previously a Junior Counselor and Leader in Training. He attends Central Connecticut State University and is studying Journalism.

“I like science because I get to explore new things and I get to learn about different chemicals and stuff. LEAP teaches me how to share and just explore new things”

Danasia's favorite part about LEAP was her trip to the Connecticut Science Museum in Hartford. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up.



In our 31 years, LEAP has worked with over 10,000 youth!

Here's what some of our alumni had to say. 


“LEAP offered such a solid foundation for me as a social worker and manager in Chicago. The training and network of LEAP is amazing! LEAP offered me so much just as a counselor. I learned key values like being passionate, modeling, working tirelessly for a cause, and leadership skills that have aided me in every position since I worked for LEAP.”

Christy Beighe-Byrne, Center Director at Chicago Youth Services and former LEAP Senior Counselor and Statewide Director of LCLC, involved from 1992-2002

“I was born and raised in a low-income situation.  If it weren't for LEAP, I would not have been exposed to things that show that life expands beyond CT.  I still have close friends that I met in ‘93 that were in my group.  Being a counselor shaped my desire to become a part of the growth for our community and to teach others.  There's so much credit that I can give to LEAP and what it's done to put me in the position that I'm in today. LEAP helped me with self-awareness and leadership skill-enhancement, giving me the ability to speak and work well with others at all levels."

Mo Edwards, New Haven firefighter, former LEAP child, Junior Counselor, Senior Counselor, and Assistant Site Coordinator of Dwight-Kensington, involved from 1993-2008

LEAP journey.jpg

“LEAP taught me how to interact with people, how to be a leader, listener, problem solver and teammate! It's still the best job I have ever held. Working in the community to bring children and families closer together developed a sense of pride that I take with me everywhere I travel. The whole time I thought I was doing something for the kids and it turned out that they did more for my development than I probably did for theirs. My old senior counselor is still one of my best friends! LEAP for life!”

Anonymous, Former counselor and staff in New London from 1995-2000

"I learned a lot during my time at LEAP -- both during training and during work! Living at Church St. South was a special experience and I carry the memories of my girls and their families with me all the time!"

Margot Anderson, Pediatric Hospitalist at Tulane Medical School and former LEAP Senior Counselor 1993-1994


"LEAP was a life changing experience for me. Before LEAP I was going to major in Anthropology. After LEAP I changed my major to psychology and started the path to becoming an educator, eventually receiving my Masters in Education from Harvard. LEAP taught me the importance of really being a part of the community that you serve. When I became a teacher in Brooklyn, I chose to live on the same block as my school. This was directly because of LEAP. I made life long friends at LEAP, and even met my husband there, when we were working as counselors the summer of 1995. I still stay in contact via Facebook with several of my LEAP kids. It's nice to see them doing well."

Michele Stein, Head Start Program Manager and LEAP Senior Counselor 1995-1997

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