If you’ve been following the expansion of Calvary Women’s Services this past year, you’ve probably heard us mention LEAP, our Life Skills, Education and Arts Program. Calvary has offered life skills classes for many years, but our new home on Good Hope Road offers the perfect opportunity to expand life skills classes into a more comprehensive program, so when we moved, we did just that.
Last spring, Elaine Johnson joined the staff as our new Education Coordinator and immediately set to work expanding LEAP. In the last year, under Elaine’s leadership, we have developed new classes, built new partnerships, and doubled the number of LEAP classes that are offered each day.
So, what is LEAP?
LEAP is a wide range of classes, activities, and education opportunities offered on-site at our programs every weekday afternoon (and occasionally on weekends). If you’ve visited our building, you’ve seen our LEAP Center on the lower level of our building, complete with a computer lab, an arts corner, a classroom, and plenty of open space. Between the hours of 1:30 pm-5:00 pm every weekday, the space is buzzing with activity!
What sort of classes might you find in LEAP?
LEAP is designed to connect each woman in our programs with the resources and skills she needs. This means that we offer a wide range of classes and activities, such as:
- Nutrition Education led by BB&R Consulting, supported through the generosity of the Walmart Foundation and United Methodist Women
- Computer Literacy in our computer lab furnished by Hogan Lovells
- Basic Math
- Money Smart Financial Literacy led by volunteers from Women in Housing and Finance
- Yoga, walking groups and other fitness activities
- Book Club led by the Junior League of Washington and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation
- Creative Writing
- Job Readiness Classes (including mock interviews, resume writing, etc.)
- Visual Art
In addition to these regular offerings, we also customize our classes based on the interests and requests of women who are participating. Some recent examples include:
- Cultural Awareness classes led by employees of the World Bank
- Etiquette classes, which culminated at our holiday dinner in December
- Theater classes led by Theater Alliance, with the opportunity to attend performances at the nearby Anacostia Playhouse
LEAP brings a huge wealth of resources into our programs, but it wouldst be possible without the support of others. LEAP classes are almost entirely led by volunteers, and through their generosity, time and expertise, we are able to offer several hours of education every day.
We’re thrilled that we have been able to expand our programs, and are grateful to our partners who support LEAP classes. We are also grateful to our friends at Bank of America, who have specifically invested in the expansion of the LEAP program. Through their support, we hope to grow the LEAP program from two to four classes over the next year!
Many thanks also to our amazing LEAP volunteers and to our community of LEAP supporters for supporting the program. Stay tuned for more excitement in LEAP this year!