LEAP doubles pre-K class
A Durham program that works as a support system for Latino children has doubled the size of its pre-K class thanks to volunteers, donations and a more than $100,000 grant.
The Latino Educational Achievement Partnership or LEAP program, has doubled the number of 4-year-olds it prepares for kindergarten this fall, the first step of many the program has envisioned to support LEAP children.
“What we are doing to support children in LEAP benefits the entire community,” said LEAP executive director Leigh Bordley in a press release. “Economists tell us that every dollar invested in a child attending high quality preschool saves our community at least $7 later in their lives.
“Given that 21 percent of our children in Durham are Latino and that under 50 percent of these bright, talented children in Durham Public Schools pass their End-of-Grade exams, we see LEAP as a response to an urgent educational, moral and economic crisis in our community.”
Nuestra Escuelita or Our Little School started last fall with one classroom of children. Since then, the program has received a $110,000 grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund this fall and an anonymous $10,000 donation this summer.
The grant has been put to use doubling the number of children LEAP can serve through pre-K. The anonymous donation was been used to buy a small bus to transport children to and from the school.
LEAP is currently housed in a space donated by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and does more than just work with early education. The program is also responsible for an evening tutoring program for school-aged children. LEAP plans to provide a continuum of support for its pre-K students as they matriculate through high school graduation.
This growing program comes from humble beginnings, out of English as a Second Language classes taught by members of St. Philip’s and St. Luke’s Episcopal Churches to members of Iglesia El Buen Pastor back in 2008.
LEAP quickly became a partnership of three Durham churches who had dedicated themselves to “empowering Latino students to achieve academic success.”
LEAP has the support of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and a board of community members. The program is working to become an independent, nonprofit organization.
The program has seven part-time staff members, including two bilingual pre-K teachers, an assistant and a tutoring coordinator. Volunteers have been vital in the program’s success, working as tutors and teaching assistants.
For information about LEAP including how to make a donation or volunteer, visit durhamleap.org.