Life Skills, Education, and Art’s Program – LEAP

Friday afternoon watercolors class, women recreate artwork by Jacob Lawrence that they saw during a visit to the Phillips Collection

At Calvary Women’s Services, our mission is to empower homeless women in Washington, DC, to transform their lives through housing, health, education, and employment programs. We believe that providing quality education services to women plays a huge role in fostering self-reliance and independence. Guided by this philosophy, we developed our LEAP program.

Graduating from the ChangePurse Strategies financial class

LEAP stands for Life Skills, Education, and Arts Program. It empowers women to think creatively, to set ambitious goals for themselves, and to build their sense of confidence and self-worth.

The LEAP program takes place each weekday afternoon and is offered on-site at Calvary. Classes typically last one hour, and women may choose two classes each afternoon from a selection of three or four classes being offered. Class focus areas include computer literacy, financial literacy, health and wellness, job readiness, literacy and writing skills, social activities, and art and creative expression.

Recent classes include the “ChangePurse Strategies” financial literacy course, “A New Way of Noticing” in which women were encouraged to explore their immediate surroundings through photography and poetry, a Negotiation skills course taught by a Georgetown law professor, and the Guided Meditation course in which women explore the emotional & spiritual benefits of mindfulness. All classes are led by dedicated and trained volunteers with skills and interests in each class area.

Combinations of original photographs and poems from the A New Way of Noticing Class (click to enlarge)

Field trips are another important, and often exciting, aspect of the LEAP program. Thursdays at Calvary are typically reserved for off-site, educational outings for women participating in LEAP. The trips are equally as diverse as the course topics. Recent excursions include a trip to the Kennedy Center to watch “Ain’t Too Proud, the Life and Time of the Temptations”, a visit to the National Gallery of Art for guided tour of African American artists and artwork, and a boat tour of the Anacostia River.

Field trip to the Kennedy Center for Aint Too Proud

Calvary has seen that one of the keys to ending homelessness is engaging women in skills-building activities that empower them to take control of their lives. Our LEAP classes have been designed to address the gaps that may exist in the education and life skill s of the women we serve.

Thanks to LEAP and all the other services we provide, every five days a woman moves from Calvary into her own home.

 

 

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