The Honorable Ms. Margaret Spellings, Former Secretary of the
Department of Education, stated "You know that the end of an education is the beginning of a life-one that can
be rich and rewarding for those who are well prepared."
Assistance Programs Forward Inc. (LEAP Forward, Inc.) is a 501 (c) 3
nonprofit organization established to provide hope and opportunity with
excellence, dedication and commitment to youth.
As products of hope and
opportunity ourselves and knowing the impact of introducing youth to new
and nontraditional experiences, we use our knowledge base to guide them
through their life’s journey. And yes, we agree that preparation is key.
Today, too many
disadvantaged youth are not focused and are not making good life choices.
Their academic achievement is low and there is a decline in the number of
youth pursuing nontraditional technical careers, while, opportunities are
growing in most math and science oriented careers.
Organized unofficially in
1998, LEAP Forward, Inc. seeks to
Expose youth to math and science careers with an emphasis on
Provide educational financial assistance to
economically disadvantaged youth through scholarships;
Expose youth to technical careers options
through seminars and industry tours;
Introduce college life through college visits
Advocate and assist in preparing necessary
documentation to pursue post secondary education or vocational training.
Officially recognized in
2001 by the IRS, LEAP Forward, Inc. began a journey that included the
tours to schools such as Howard University, Norfolk State University,
Hampton University, Tennessee State University, Fisk University,
University of Maryland, Howard University, Meharry University, Vanderbilt University and
University of Pennsylvania.
Awarded over 100
Wallace Lorenzo Leeper Memorial Book Scholarships. Awards were made to students attending schools
such as Bowie State University, Morgan State University, MIT, University
of Maryland, College of Southern Maryland, Tennessee State University,
etc. Some of the college graduates have gone on to become teachers,
engineers, correctional officers, etc. Others continue to pursue
academic goals that will result in careers in biology, education,
Presented math and
science (engineering) career options to hundreds of students at career
and college fairs held at numerous Elementary, Middle and High Schools,
community events, job shadow days, and other venues. Distributed
engineering and science career literature and responded to questions.
Served as advocates
for youth in which parents and/or grandparents were not knowledgeable about
the higher education process. Assisted numerous youth in preparing
financial aid forms, college applications, college essays, and resumes.
motivated youth to participate in the Minority Introduction to
Engineering (MITE) programs. Encouraged minority women in
particularly to pursue engineering degrees.
LEAP Forward, Inc. was instrumental in bringing, the Maryland
Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program to Calvert
County, Maryland. LEAP Forward, Inc. introduced numerous students to
math and science career fields during MESA's high school day events in
conjunction with the Black Engineers of the Year Awards (BEYA) Conference in
Baltimore, MD. President, Rhonda Thomas, presented the MESA program to
a member of the Calvert County School Board and subsequently the program
was adopted Countywide. A first for the MESA program! Many students now
participate in the program and various county schools have won numerous
awards during MESA competitions.
Exposed youth to engineering programs
by participating in engineering summer camps and conferences sponsored by
organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, Society
of Women Engineers and the BEYA Awards Conference.
Our Mission: We
serve minority youth from underrepresented ethnic and cultural
backgrounds. Through personal mentoring and providing them with social
and cultural enrichment activities to include (but not limited to) career
training and exposure, informational seminars, field trips and educational
support services that foster positive self-esteem, academic excellence, and
a comprehensive awareness of technical career options.
Our goal is to provide academic enrichment that
promotes achievement among youth that have otherwise been considered
Our Vision: We
enable a generation of minority youth who accept the challenge
to become academically prepared to enter math and science-based careers by
becoming the problem solvers and productive leaders who address the
needs of all humanity. We wish to produce a
society of engineers, researchers, mathematicians, and scientists that will
improve the conditions and livelihood of all mankind.
Our Core Values: Excellence, Dedication, and Commitment. We believe:
- Excellence should be displayed in all we do and that all youth can achieve excellence when given an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Dedication to our youth is necessary to meet their needs.
- Commitment embraces commitment and as we make deposits in the lives of youth they will commit to society.
Our Core Philosophy is:
Enhance your Life with an Early Start and a Perfect Finish.