L.E.A.D. provides year-round, direct service programming to up to 250 Black boys in 6th-12th grades from low income households who are underperforming in the areas of grades, attendance and behavior. All of our student-athletes are from inner-city communities throughout Atlanta and attend Atlanta Public Schools. Our year round programming consists of activities across our four pillars of focus: academics, athletics, civic engagement and commerce. Our programming is delivered in a trauma-informed, culturally responsive framework that is centered around our student-athletes’ racial, linguistic and cultural identities.
- Athletics allows LEAD staff to build trusting relationships with members while teaching the leadership, life, social and job/career preparedness skills inherent in athletic development.
- Academics: Because we target young men who are underperforming across grades, attendance and behavior, academic success usually does not come easy for our young men. LEAD staff uses our young men’s love for the game of baseball to inspire them to compete academically.
- Civic Engagement must become a part of one’s DNA in order to develop leaders who have a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to their communities. Members of LEAD complete over 2,000 hours of combined community service annually.
- Commerce drives the social and economic culture of our communities and world. Having a seat at the table of commercial development is essential to effect positive growth for communities. Through strategic business partnerships, LEAD connects its members with the business community, creating a network and pipeline for future, diverse leadership.
L.E.A.D.’s Year Round Programs
Sports-based youth development (SBYD) provides a high potency, active environment where fun and learning take place.
As we prepare our Ambassadors to be community leaders who are workforce, college and career ready, our unique position in their lives is to develop their social emotional learning (SEL) capacities. Through support from the Laureus USA Foundation, we use a resource called Hello Insight to assess and develop our programming and our Ambassadors. Through Hello Insight, we track our boys development across the following SEL capacities:
- Academic Self-Efficacy
- Goal Orientation
- Positive Identity
- Social Capital
- Social Connections
- Social Skills
In the early 1900s, the American government turned to athletics to prepare men to fight in WWI. After seeing the social, physical and psychological preparedness of American soldiers, the country began to invest heavily into athletics, including high school sports.
Today, Black youth in Atlanta are at war with three curveballs that threaten their success: crime, poverty and racism. L.E.A.D.’s sports-leadership, Pathway2Empowerment model provides year-round training and development designed to help our youth win at the game of life.
Our integrated system fuses our four pillars (athletics/baseball, academics, civic engagement, commerce) with our six core values (excellence, humility, integrity, loyalty, stewardship, teamwork), and provides year round experiences in phased approach to development (assessment, engagement, empowerment, application). Simply stated, we meet our youth where they are, guide them along our Pathway2Empowerment and help them chart a course that leads to a sustainable life of significance; with a focus on empowering them to break the cycle of poverty in their families.
A Language For Leadership
Habitudes® for Athletes is a unique leadership training curriculum specifically designed to prepare student athletes for excellence in both their sport and life after school. All of L.E.A.D.’s middle and high school programs incorporate Habitudes into our Core Value Training.
For the alums who have graduated from our Ambassador Program (high school), we proudly report the following stats:
- 100% high school graduation
- 93% college enrollment
- 90% college scholarship rate
- 19% college graduation rate (1 alum also has a Master’s Degree)
- 14% entered the military or workforce
Through ongoing program development (learning, monitoring, evaluation), we’ve learned how to keep our youth engaged. We have created the following check points by which our programs are created and evaluated:
- Establish value – In order to have a relationship with youth, you must first establish that you have something of value to them
- Consistent delivery & interaction – Once you establish value, you must deliver that value add consistently and frequently.
- Build relationship – The established value, delivered consistently and frequently allows you to build a trusting relationship; now you have influence in their lives. Relationship is the prerequisite for sustainable change.
- Effectively mentor – Once you earn trust and influence, then you can begin to properly mentor and bring about sustainable change in the lives of the youth you serve.
L.E.A.D. is focused on using its programming and resources to positively impact public education in Atlanta and across the nation. In 2009, L.E.A.D. formed a partnership with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) through the Atlanta Partners For Education Program. Since becoming a partner, L.E.A.D. has grown from serving 20 student-athletes to serving over 350 APS student-athletes through programming and partnerships. Currently L.E.A.D. has partnerships with the various middle and high schools in APS.
We are especially grateful for our partnership at the historic Booker T. Washington High School, the home field of the L.E.A.D. Jr. Ambassadors and Ambassadors.
If your school would like more information about LEAD Programs, contact Kelli Stewart.