NEAD LogoNorth East Area Development | Rochester, NY
Project LEAP

Project LEAP: Literacy Engagement and Achievement Program for at-risk urban males is a joint community/school-based program that will provide wraparound services for children in the Rochester 14609 zip code (Beechwood Neighborhood) one of four (4) neighborhoods designated a Focus Investment Strategy Neighborhood by the City of Rochester (https://www.cityofrochester.gov/fis). The Focused Investment Strategy is a neighborhood revitalization initiative centered on certain troubled neighborhoods in each quadrant of the City characterized by low educational attainment, high poverty rates and above average crime rates. Each area has a three-to-five year plan aimed at improving struggling City blocks by using an existing base of support, such as organized neighbors, or institutional anchors, like John James Audubon School #33.

The proposed program will provide direct services to 210 children for 2 afternoons a week (Monday and Thursday) plus one Saturday a month during the school year (for a total of about 200 hours of direct services per child), while also leveraging two existing summer programs (Horizons at University of Rochester

[UR]-Warner and the Freedom School) as well as other services.  Community engagement is a key component of the project, with intergenerational mentoring provided to youth as well as outreach /home visits to be conducted with families two days a week (Tuesday and Wednesday) to provide continuous and sustained contact with the children most at-risk of dropping out of school.  The program builds on an existing successful partnership between School #33-Audubon—a Focus School with 87% eligible for free or reduced price lunch (where program will be held), its active community organization (Northeast Area Development—NEAD), and several collaborative organizations with the University of Rochester (UR) serving as a primary collaborative organization. 

The LEAP program is characterized by: (a) targeting African-American and Latino males in elementary school who are most at-risk of dropping out before they are exposed to years of negative behaviors and their consequences; (b) capitalizing on formal and informal learning environments to build academic skills as well as confidence as learners; (c) providing individualized literacy instruction to selected students to achieve the goal of having them read at grade level by 3rd grade, and (d) developing families’ and the neighborhood’s capacity to better support their students through programming mentoring  and outreach for the entire family.  As such, the program mission statement involves a holistic approach that provides engaging opportunities outside of the school day for students and their families to improve quality of life, increase academic success, and decrease negative behaviors leading to suspension and crime. 

Listen to the Coalition’s podcast with NEAD’s Executive Director, George Moses