LEAP coaches prepare students and young adults for today’s global economy by inspiring collaborative, student leadership between three diverse communities. In order to begin the process of building leaders in New Canaan, Stamford, and Kibera, LEAP’s coaches inspired students to identify and work towards the following goals :
- Build accountability
- Identify roles of team members
- Develop partnerships with both coaches and peers
- Create weekly objectives
- Establish a communication schedule with Kibera
- Choose a mission based on a common passion and chronic issues.
LEAP is an experiential leadership program with four goals:
- Train students to know how to lead themselves and others
- Train students to build a team of peers and professionals from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds
- Train students to become social and/or micro-finance entrepreneurs who can impact themselves and their communities
- Train students to brand and market their LEAP experiences for jobs and higher education.
The actual teaching of LEAP students is realized through a structured, 12-unit leadership training and development program with weekly personal and peer coaching. The skills covered in this curriculum help identify and eliminate hurdles that keep the individual from reaching his or her potential. LEAP to Lead is focused on the following themes:
- Unit 1: Who Me a LEADER? Choose respect, response ability and leadership
- Unit 2: Vision and Voice: Act with conviction, courage, commitment and compassion
- Unit 3: Touch, Move, and Inspire: Inspire the individual to believe in the power of collaboration and teamwork
- Unit 4: Integrity and Accountability: A leader acts with integrity and accountability
- Unit 5: Stand up and Bounce Back: Be fully responsible for your life
- Unit 6: Resilience: Identify your patterns of resilience and commit to strength in adversity
- Unit 7: Facts are Facts, Speak to Success: Clearly understand the difference between the facts and your interpretation of the facts
- Unit 8: Humility and Confidence: How to build confidence with humility
- Unit 9: Failure as Opportunity: Unmask the fear of failure
- Unit 10: Look in the Mirror: Be self aware and don’t go it alone
- Unit 11: Completion and Commitment: Commitment vs attachment
- Unit 12: Choose to be a Life Long Leader: Who do you choose to be?
Our story begins with a collaboration between high school students in affluent New Canaan, Connecticut and a group of peers from the Boys and Girls Club in nearby Stamford. As leaders, our LEAP TEAM worked to:
- Build empathy and respect
- Address stereotypes
- Discuss relevant chronic issues
Through the weeks of LEAP coaching, our team became more confident and committed to making a difference.
Our local LEAP TEAM in Connecticut soon partnered with FAFU, a Kenya-based child development network to think of ways to improve the lives of children in Kibera, an impoverished area in Nairobi, Kenya. Utilizing modern technology to communicate, we worked together on leadership skills and brainstormed ideas to address one of the most pressing issues in Kibera: waste management and sanitation.
Lauren Calahan, Founder of Leap4change
For 25 years, Lauren has dedicated herself to creating and teaching personalized curriculum to students from pre-school to college. As an entrepreneurial educator and philanthropist her passion is to unite communities, listen to each student’s vision, voice, and vitality, empower him or her to strive towards a personal best, and design and implement a plan of action that creates a positive change in the world. Lauren uses her educational and philanthropic experiences combined with her skills at coaching, teaching, and mentoring to design and lead LEAP’s educational, administrative, and partner-alliances initiatives.
Simeon Ajigo, Founder of FAFU
Simeon spent part of his childhood living in Kibera and later worked for many years at the Kibera YMCA. After conducting research, Simeon learned that a number of single mothers were giving their children alcohol while they left the house for work. For these women, it was a choice between staying at home and not having the money to feed them both, or leaving their child asleep at home, and finding the money to survive. Simeon made it his mission to build a daycare. Shortly, Simeon’s vision for Facing the Future School grew to include a nursery, primary school, health center and a community outreach program for teenagers in Kibera.