Many organizations in New Haven are committed to combatting youth violence and developing the skills of youth living in high-poverty neighborhoods in our community. But not too many are doing it through coding classes and swim lessons.
With the help of general operating funds from The Community Foundation, LEAP (Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership, Inc.) has recently expanded its programming to include weekends, ensuring that kids age 7 – 15 have somewhere to do homework, read and take part in athletic activities and workshops, like computer science, almost every day of the week.
LEAP opened a fifth program site for New Haven children and youth, and was able to reopen its community center swimming pool, making it one of only two places in the city where children from low-income households can learn to swim.
“This is an amazing time at LEAP. We are growing dramatically both in terms of children served and quality of programs we are offering,” says Interim Executive Director Henry Fernandez. “But with all this change we remain committed to the simple powerful idea that young people – college and high school students – can make real change for the children of New Haven.”
The increased programming and a 66% increase in young people enrolled means LEAP is also providing more New Haven high school and college students with paying jobs, hiring 100 junior and senior counselors (pictured above) to accommodate the increase in enrollment, while reducing the number of kids per senior and junior counselor team from 10 to 8.
LEAP is one of 23 New Haven organizations sharing in a half-million dollar grant from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, just announced this week. The grant is awarded to the City of New Haven for its Youth Violence Prevention Program; the City decides where the money should be directed.