Designated as one of the local, diverse partners in the Leap4kibera project, the town of New Canaan is an affluent community nestled in the panhandle of southern Connecticut. Located just 50 minutes from New York City, New Canaan is a suburban hub for commuters as well as the site of one of the nation’s best school districts.
With all the resources that New Canaan has been blessed with, it’s a joy to see that students of all ages seem to maintain a strong moral compass, a motivation to become leaders, and a desire to give back through LEAP. Austen Deery, Abby Herman, and Will Cuoco – graduates who now attend Brown University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Vermont, respectively – served as heads of the LEAP program during their time at New Canaan High School. On Tuesdays from 6 to 8 pm, they led club meetings with students from New Canaan, Stamford, Darien and Norwalk in order to make it possible for students from diverse backgrounds to come together as equals. During their meetings, students had the opportunity to communicate and develop programs with their global partners, including those in Kibera, Kenya.
The issues that students in this community felt passionate about included anti-bullying awareness, anti-drug awareness, and sustainability, each of which came into fruition in the form of one or more LEAP projects. The New Canaan students also helped launch the LEAP online magazine to serve as a vehicle for teens around the globe to use in order to break down barriers, build trust, assess pertinent issues and develop solutions.