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LEAP (Leadership Education Achievement Pathways)

JCCA’s LEAP division works with children and adolescents from across the agency to provide academic, vocational, and life-skills support to foster long-term educational and professional success.

Academic Supports:

City’s First Readers: City’s First Reader’s has allowed JCCA to train staff and parents on ways to identify early literacy needs in children ages 0-5, as well as to focus on ways to engage parents to address these early literacy needs. We are able to conduct story time events to engage parents and children, incorporate early literacy events in programming and provide learning resources to families. There are dedicated early literacy rooms in JCCA’s Bronx and Brooklyn offices where families can engage in literacy activities and access resources.

Tutoring: JCCA’s LEAP staff will work with young people and their families to connect a tutor to every young person who needs academic support. Tutoring happens in-person or virtually, with professional or volunteer tutors, in accordance with each student’s learning needs. 

Liberation Diploma Plus High School, a transfer high school, is a partnership between JCCA and the New York City Department of Education. It offers specialized curriculum and teaching methods in small classes that provide the individualized attention students need to succeed.

Scholarship program: JCCA provides funds to promising but financially needy students from across JCCA’s many programs, so they can continue their academic careers after high school or obtain vocational training in a chosen career.

Vocational Supports:

Fair Futures: Fair Futures coaches work with youth in foster care, from middle school until after discharge. Foster youth benefit from these long-term relationships with their coaches, who provide insight, mentoring, and guidance to support each young person’s academic, career, and socio-emotional success once they leave care. 

Mentored Internship Program: LEAP offers paid internship placements and soft skills training to young people in foster care. Each intern is individually matched with a mentor/supervisor in a range of departments at JCCA. Interns gain work experience, develop career skills, and overcome barriers to successfully complete the internship and prepare for success in future work opportunities.

The Work Progress Program (WPP) assists nonprofit organizations to provide beneficial internship opportunities for low income young adults in all five boroughs of New York City. Nonprofit organizations are designated as WPP Service Providers and conduct internship programs for participants ages 16-24. The Work Progress Program seeks to provide internships and other opportunities to youths in NYC, and to connect them to meaningful next steps such as employment, industry-based training, and academic enrollment.

Wrap-Around Supports focus on in-demand, higher paying/non-traditional employment such as automotive, construction trades, green technologies, information technology, etc. for youth aging out of foster care.  Each plan is individually tailored and trauma-informed, to offer young people the training and placement they need to begin sustainable careers as early as possible.

The Learning to Work (LTW) program at Liberation Diploma Plus High School provides students with part-time jobs or paid internships. Through the LTW, students learn job readiness skills, develop career interests, and build resumes.

Life Skills:

Preparing Youth for Adulthood (PYA): This suite of services helps foster youth develop the resiliency and self-confidence to succeed once they age out of care. PYA includes workshops and and group exercises on topics such as personal finance, budgeting, job preparedness, taxes, college applications, financial aid, grocery shopping, nutrition, balancing social activities with obligations, and more. Youth also have the opportunity to participate in site visits (banks, DMV, etc.)  in which staff walk them through and teach them how to complete applications for critical documents (passports, etc.) and programs.

Compass: The Compass Project helps teens and young adults with learning differences, executive functioning and social communication challenges, Autism Spectrum disorders and related disabilities. The Compass Project is designed to help young people plan for and make a successful transition from high school, college or unemployment to the workplace and independent adulthood. Our program offers counseling, social and recreation programs, career assessments, internship opportunities, vocational assistance through ACCES-VR, college support and independent living programs for young people making the transition to an independent future.


Scholarship Profile: Tyreek Hallett

“It looked like I would not have enough credits to graduate. My basketball coach suggested that I apply to Brooklyn Democracy Academy. Working with Barrington Burgess, my Advocate Counselor, really helped me. He is a good mentor and has become almost like an older brother. He was supportive, and stayed on my case and made sure I finished my senior project so I could graduate. He also helped in other areas of my life. For example, I did not have a birth certificate or a Social Security card, and he helped me get them so I could get a job.” Read more >