MindLeaps students with their teacher in the Bronx
Children in under-resourced communities face overwhelming challenges. Among these, children of incarcerated parents deal with instability at home, and experience psychological and emotional strain, all of which can lead to behavioral issues and failure in school. The MindLeaps program offers them a safe, supportive space. They take part in dance classes that are not only fun, but are also based on a curriculum carefully crafted to develop the social-emotional and cognitive skills that can lead to success in school and productive lives later on. The MindLeaps programs run in Brooklyn and the Bronx, New York, have measured marked improvement in the development of skills that can help these children become more emotionally resilient and more equipped to overcome the problems they face. In class, we see cooperation and trust being built among the children as they learn and go through their dance moves together. In the Bronx, through our local partner, Children of Promise, a new cohort of eager 8 and 9-year-olds will begin the program end January.
Based on the success of the New York City program, organizations in other cities have reached out to explore our running the MindLeaps program as part of the work they do. Philadelphia is a city whose youth are impacted by issues from the risk of dropping out of school to gun violence. To address these problems, MindLeaps has been invited to launch a program in partnership with Sunrise of Philadelphia. Sunrise of Philadelphia organizes after-school programs in eleven schools across the city, and has asked MindLeaps to run classes at one of its elementary schools, beginning in January. Organizers are enthusiastic about our participation and about putting our model to work in their communities.
In November, MindLeaps trainers conducted demonstration classes with 4th to 8th grade girls from Philadelphia Youth Basketball’s HoopHers Program. HoopHers offers a safe space to empower young girls through sport, promoting teamwork and resiliency. The MindLeaps mission is in line with these goals, and reaction to the classes was enthusiastic from the organization and the participating girls alike. Discussions are now underway about the possibility of running the MindLeaps program in conjunction with Philadelphia Youth Basketball. MindLeaps is thrilled that its program to reach under-served children, also operating in Africa and the Balkans, is expanding in the USA.
MindLeaps demonstration class in Philadelphia