Notes from the Field: The Power of LEAP


Steve Le, 2010 Teach with Africa fellow, is an English teacher and the co-director of the Service Learning program at Pacific Ridge School, in Carlsbad, CA. For more updates on his experience as a Teach with Africa fellow, you can follow his blog.

The LEAP Schools embrace community outreach as a part of the students’ development.

Each campus has developed an on-going relationship with a handful of grassroots organizations in the townships where the students live. Recognizing that the education they are receiving is a privilege, LEAP students learn to serve their local communities.

Let’s pause to consider that for a minute.

Students who live in homes without electricity and often go to bed without dinner volunteer their time to give comfort to others in their own community. Not to people whom they consider to be in a different social class, but to their neighbors. Wow.

Our first stop was a community center called the Etafeni Project, a multi-purpose center for children with AIDS. Over time, the reach of the project extended to those infected by, affected by, or vulnerable to AIDS. LEAP students come to Etafeni throughout the year to play with the kids in the day care center, to teach music and singing, and to do various chores for the staff.

John Gilmour, the founder of LEAP, has a vision that LEAP will serve to empower students not just with an education, but also with a purpose to give meaning to that education.

During their time in South Africa, Teach with Africa fellows will be providing field notes on their experiences. Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and get our email updates for the latest.

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