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Program Category: Accepting Mentors
The Literacy Enrichment After-school Program (LEAP) provides homework assistance, computer literacy, and library skills for students in grades K-12, and daily literacy enrichment activities for elementary school students. LEAP operates after school Monday-Thursday from September to June at all Free Library neighborhood libraries and Parkway Central Library, and Tuesday-Friday in the three regional libraries.
LEAP activities and programs promote traditional literacy as well as literacy in science, technology, and cultural arts. LEAP also introduces students to the many Library resources and materials that are available, free of charge, to help them with school assignments, applying to college, and eventually securing meaningful employment. Students at all levels can also access Homework Help Online, powered by Brainfuse, which offers everything from live tutoring—in English and Spanish—to specialized test prep and a writing lab. In addition to encouraging academic achievement, LEAP also fosters a safe and supportive, non-judgmental zone for children and teens.
Afterschool Leaders (ASLs) head the LEAP staff in each Free Library location under the supervision of the librarians and library staff. Each school year the Free Library also employs approximately 120 – 150 high-school students as Teen Leadership Assistants (TLAs) and seven college students as Associate Leaders to support the LEAP program. All LEAP staff members receive six hours of orientation training prior to their placement, and additional continuing education throughout the year. This multi-tiered employment model has been lauded nationally and reflects the Free Library’s commitment to mentoring and positive youth development.