LEAP Fellowship Seeks to Boost Engagement, Leadership for Young People

Posted April 7, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
LEAP Fellowship helps prepare young people for success

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion recent­ly select­ed the first cohort of 10 young-adult fel­lows who will sup­port Learn and Earn to Achieve Poten­tial (LEAP)™ — a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar ini­tia­tive to boost employ­ment and edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple ages 14 to 25 who are home­less, in fos­ter care or involved in the crim­i­nal jus­tice system.

Fel­lows in the pro­gram, the Nation­al LEAP Youth Fel­low­ship, will serve in 2020 as youth rep­re­sen­ta­tives for each of the initiative’s 10 local col­lab­o­ra­tives and work with Casey Foun­da­tion staff and LEAP part­ners to:

  • engage oth­er young peo­ple to shape and par­tic­i­pate in programming;
  • cre­ate strate­gies to bet­ter serve young peo­ple, includ­ing by offer­ing new ideas to help build youth and young adults’ work­place and oth­er skills; and
  • sup­port new and exist­ing ways for young peo­ple to become lead­ers in their communities.

The pro­gram builds on ongo­ing youth lead­er­ship work at each of the 10 LEAP part­ner­ships, where par­tic­i­pants across the coun­try have sup­port­ed and pro­mot­ed local programs.

This fel­low­ship is a great way to con­nect a new group of LEAP par­tic­i­pants with lead­er­ship and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties,” says Niki­ta Mason, who, since 2016, has worked with three oth­er young lead­ers across the coun­try — Daniel Bryn­er, Ben­i­to Lopez-Sanchez and Maya Camille Gaines — to shape LEAP, includ­ing the new fel­low­ship. We believe the amaz­ing young peo­ple who have been select­ed will make mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tions to the youth expe­ri­ence at their local pro­grams and to their communities.”

Fel­lows were nom­i­nat­ed by local LEAP part­ners and were select­ed based on their expe­ri­ence with com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice and engag­ing with peers, as well as their desire to build lead­er­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple in their com­mu­ni­ties. In the pro­gram, par­tic­i­pants will par­tic­i­pate in ongo­ing train­ings and have oppor­tu­ni­ties to net­work with civic lead­ers and youth advo­cates across the country.

We’re con­fi­dent that our cre­ative, intel­li­gent and gift­ed fel­lows, with the sup­port of local LEAP part­ners and the Casey Foun­da­tion, will make the nec­es­sary arrange­ments to ensure this pro­gram brings authen­tic youth voice into pro­gram­mat­ic deci­sions and builds new oppor­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple being served,” says Patrice Cromwell, direc­tor of youth eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The 2020 fel­lows are:

  • Ali­cia Colon, Albu­querque, N.M.;
  • Hay­ley Brooks, Lewis­ton, Maine;
  • Juan Anto­nio Her­nan­dez Piñón, San Diego;
  • Lakeshia Col­bert, Lin­coln, Neb.;
  • Lam­ont Har­rell, Los Angeles;
  • Mamadou Dial­lo, New York City;
  • Prince Rig­gins, New York City;
  • Ruby Jensen, Minneapolis;
  • Tere­sa Davis, Peo­ria, Ariz.; and
  • Trey Gree­newald, Anchor­age, Alaska.

Learn about LEAP’s ear­ly results

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