Why We LEAP for Youth

(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)

At LEAP Foundation DC, we are committed to addressing the unmet social and health needs of the people of the District of Columbia and the surrounding areas. We do this through educational opportunities and programs that advocate for the health and wellness of community members, as well as delivering services to individual and families in need, supporting local organizations in their efforts to improve their communities and providing a stage and a voice for those who are overlooked and disregarded.

But why do we do what we do? As leaders, it is important to share our knowledge, passion and excitement for learning with younger generations. Continuing to provide mentorship for future leaders is one way that we can help young people reach their goals and celebrate success. Our partner business, Lawrence Executive Alliance of Professionals (LEAP), LLC, addresses the health needs of people around the world. Through a combined effort, both LEAP, LLC, and LEAP Foundation DC, is our way of preventing childhood disease and obesity. Here is how we do it:

Learning – We believe that opportunities for learning are all around us and we take the role as teacher very seriously. We embrace moments of sharing, experiencing and mentoring. This may mean collaborating with another nonprofit, inviting a young person along to a professional event, leading by example when we are engaging with the public and even providing a lesson on how to tie a tie. In order to raise successful young men and women, we must first set a positive example of leadership.

Education – Through our scholarship programs, students are able to pursue opportunities that otherwise may not have become available. We encourage young people to think big and reach for the stars. We have offered scholarships to students who have overcome learning disabilities, traveled abroad to explore their interests, gained access to technological devices to take their education to the next level, and take the next step on their educational journeys.

Advancement – We want the students that we work with to advance to the next level. We want them to have opportunities, courage and confidence. For so many, discouragement plays a factor in success or failure. That’s where LEAP serves as an advocate, a cheerleader and a sounding board, providing solutions that make a difference not only today, but for years to come.

Pursuit – Never stop dreaming. Achieving goals is all about going after them, but all too often, the first step is never taken. Google defines pursuit as “the action of following or pursuing someone or something” and “an activity of a specified kind, especially a recreational or athletic one.” Whatever the pursuit, LEAP Foundation DC is committed to helping our young mentees start off on the right foot, take the right steps along the path, and never stop dreaming.