Home → About
LEAP for Education
LEAP = Learn, Explore, Aspire and Pursue
In our programs, middle and high school students LEARN by receiving academic support as well as an exposure to a range of new topics, ideas and experiences and then have the opportunity to EXPLORE topics of interest more deeply through project-based learning, career exploration, service learning. civic engagement and community service. Those students then take what they have learned in order to identify their interests and ASPIRATIONS. From here, students create an educational pathway to a post-secondary degree, license, or certificate so they may PURSUE a career that matches their strengths and interests.
- Personalized – Focus on each student’s needs potential and choices– there is no one size fits all to student success.
- Engaged in the Community – Collaborate and engage with public, private and non-profit sectors in our communities.
- Innovative – Bring innovative, non-traditional learning opportunities to students.
- Relevant – Understand the needs of all our stakeholders (students, partners, donors, staff, families and volunteers) and communities we serve.
- Inclusive – Welcome all students regardless of ethnicity, gender, GPA or residence.
- Supportive – Assure each student has caring and supportive adults in his/her life.
- Committed – Maintain open, honest and consistent interaction; build relationships on trust.
|2002 – 2013||2004 – Present||LEAP Incorporates|
LEAP for Education opened up in 2002 under the name Salem CyberSpace as part of NSCAP (North Shore Community Actions Program). NSCAP “hired” Linda Saris (as a volunteer) to set up a drop-in, free, Internet cafe in a low-income neighborhood. It soon became clear that we needed more than just computers and Internet to make a difference in closing the Digital Divide. Adult computer training was introduced in the mornings and our first youth program opened up in the summer of 2003 with 7 students. Within a few years, we became the leading provider of after-school academic services to low-income youth, grades 6-16, on the North Shore.
Adult Education (2002 – 2013)
As an adult education center, we created innovative curricula to help our students bridge the “Digital Divide” and taught Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, and Adobe Creative Suite. Morning computer training programs provided needed office skills for many low-income and unemployed adults. During the recession years of 2008 -2012, our organization trained over 500 adults. We discontinued adult training in 2013 to focus on our youth programs.
Youth Education (2004 – Present)
By 2004, responding to the demand of the community and a meteoric rise in youth participation, LEAP for Education became a community academic learning center dedicated to expanding academic and career opportunities for low-income, youth ages 11 – 18. In our center, we still use technology as a tool to achieve our goals. However, the academic goals have expanded significantly to include English Literacy for our immigrant teens, STEM activities to address the need to fill the expanding business need for STEM-literate workers, and the arts, a way to stimulate creative and innovative thinking. We added a career and college program in 2008, the College Success Program, which has become our fastest growing program. As the only center to provide college services to all low-income students in high school and college, regardless of ethnicity, gender, GPA or residence, we have become a magnet for the many talented youth who are the first in their families to go to college.
In 2017, LEAP significantly enhanced its Career Services, recognizing that post-secondary success is more likely when students have identified one or multiple career pathways that match their interests while still in high school. This allows students to plot a more intentional high school and post-secondary pathway and establishes more community and social connections for our students who lack social capital. With supportive adults and a methodology for thinking through career choices, students have the tools when, and if, they decide to change career pathways once in college or beyond.
LEAP partners with the school districts to provide after-school programming in the schools in the cities of Salem and Gloucester. Through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, LEAP reaches 60 students in Salem and 150 students in Gloucester.
In July 2014 LEAP for Education, Inc. incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and on May 31, 2015 separated from NSCAP.
We are successful because of our staff, volunteers, donors and community partners which include Salem State University, Salem Public Schools, City of Salem, City of Peabody, Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, City of Gloucester, Gloucester High School, Workforce Investment Board, Peabody Essex Museum, the House of the Seven Gables and the many businesses who assist our youth in educational programs and career opportunities. Most of all, our success in linked to the students themselves and their families who hold aspirations and a belief in their futures and are taking steps to make it happen.
Serving over 500 youth per year, we continue to be dedicated to helping the families of our communities reach their potential in both their academic lives and careers.