The year was 1991, and our founder Ted Otis was walking through Central Park when a realization struck him: many of the students within the schools that lined the park had never experienced it for themselves. This moments provided just a dose of what would be the coming wave of boundless opportunities that unfolded, right outside their front doors of New York City educators. What that, the stirrings of Leadership began, spirited by two chief goals:
- Teach educators how to use NYC’s cultural institutions and diverse communities as an educational resource.
- Provide effective training in leadership skills in an educational and greater social context.
Leadership found itself quickly expanding within the evolving educational landscape. Student-centered work in resiliency and leadership was in demand, and we knew we could help. A new program was forged, and we became resolute in our mission to engage youth: bent on cultivating their potential to be positive influencers in their schools and communities.
In 1995 the Extended School Day/School Violence prevention grant provided an opportunity to bring an in-class leadership and conflict resolution into some of the most challenging environments of NYC’s five boroughs. Our Violence Prevention Project (VPP) has since been recognized as the top leadership-themed, conflict resolution program in the country.
In the decades since then, our services have surged to include extended learning time/after school programming, specialized professional development, family engagement, and community outreach projects. Over the years, we have served hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of students.
We are proud partners dedicated to positive change in school communities. We do this by providing opportunities that inspire our clients to step into their leadership.
Our services have been made possible primarily through state and federal grant initiatives, including:
- Extended School Day/ School Violence Prevention Grants
- 21st Century Community Learning Center Grants
- Dropout Prevention Program Grants
- 100% Safe and Drug Free School Grants