LEAP Foundation DC reinforces youth outreach on a global level

For the past decade, LEAP Foundation DC has been advocating for the health and wellness of community members, offering services specifically aimed at creating a positive future for underserved and disadvantaged youth. But the nonprofit’s mission to “bridge the gap between hope and achievement” doesn’t stop at the local level. For several years, Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, has made it a priority to expand the outreach on a global level.

This week, the endurance athlete once again merged his dedication to marathon running with his personal and professional desire to support organizations in their efforts to improve their communities and provide a stage and voice for those who are overlooked and disregarded.

The Tata Mumbai Marathon in Mumbai, India, hosted Jan. 20, 2019, marked the 106thrace for Dr. Lawrence, who said he has an interest in running in each of the different continents. Among the top 10 marathons in the world, the Tata Mumbai Marathon is said to have “put India on the global map of long-distance running,” according to the website. It also serves as the single largest fundraising platform for Civil Society Organizations and has raised funds that have benefited more than 700 NGOs. This year, over 46,000 participants took the streets of Mumbai for a race that is on a mission to help others live a better tomorrow.

Dr. Lawrence’s outreach involves Mentor Me India, a nonprofit organization that aims to “empower the children from low-income groups by providing them with strong role models in the form of mentors.” The group’s process is two-fold, not only benefitting mentees, but offering mentors a chance to directly interact with participants and allowing them to learn valuable life lessons, as well.

Mentor Me India’s Senior Recruitment and Operations Associate Jesmina M. Sangma said the organization’s mission is about allowing all children to discover and achieve their dreams, regardless of their background.

The match could not be more perfect, said Dr. Clayton Lawrence.

“I will continue to seek out opportunities to support youth-driven organizations and Mentor Me India could not be a more deserving nonprofit to help expand our global outreach,” Dr. Lawrence said. “While it’s true we are on a mission to offer a voice and a platform for youth within our own community, the driving force behind that is a desire to provide opportunities for young people to follow their dreams and reach their goals across the globe. We believe everyone is capable of creating a personal story of success.”

The financial contribution offered by LEAP Foundation DC will allow the organization to continue to offer support for the more than 400 children participating in 12 centers in Mumbai. There, participants meet with mentors for a minimum of six hours per month, where they engage in activities designed to meet the mentee’s individual preferences and needs, such as taking a walk, reading a book or enjoying an arts and crafts project. Those who attend the same school also have an opportunity to come together for larger group activities, while the bi-monthly group mentoring sessions include activities planned around the organization’s curriculum, like skits, songs, goal setting and conflict resolution.

“The funds/money will be allocated to a mentor-mentee pair,” Sangma said. “The activities undertaken that will utilize funds are program implementation such as training, mentor-mentee events and impact evaluation. This type of support is important for us to keep maintaining our mentoring relationships successfully.”

Dr. Lawrence called the outreach the perfect extension of what LEAP Foundation DC has been doing in the Washington, D.C., area.

“I’m excited and pleased to do that for the first marathon of 2019,” he added.