Graduates

Tarshea Sanderson, LEAP Class 11 (2016)

With the help and support of LEAP, my life has been transformed!!! That is the only word that comes close to my experience with LEAP.

I was released from Homestead Correctional Institution on 2/28/16 full of hope and optimism! However I didn’t know what was in store for me…I was taken to the Salvation Army in Ft. Lauderdale for an overnight stay. OMG!!! Mahlia Lindquist, LEAP’s E.D., was such the protective mother! She didn’t want me to be left there at all. I reassured here that I would be fine and that if I had survived prison, drugs, and the streets…this was a cake walk. This incident…was the beginning of a wave of nonstop support from LEAP.

 

LEAP has been my ROCK.

 

Because of LEAP’s Mentoring Program and my fabulous mentor Vala Kodish, I came out of prison gainfully employed. I worked for Swago Custom Apparel in Pembroke Pines, FL, gaining the skills and the knowledge needed to one day open my own business. Two months after release I moved into my own place. Through the life skills I learned in LEAP, …I made a conscious choice to continue to practice [meditation and journaling] on a daily basis (even when I didn’t feel like it). By dong so, I was rewarded with the opportunity to become Assistant Director of Community Engagement for the LEAP Program through an On the Job Training Program called Transition, Inc. Grateful for this advancement, I gained a new awareness of myself. I found that nothing comes easy, and if I wanted it I must do whatever it takes to make my dreams a reality. Hard work, resilience, and focus became my best friends.

 

Things became to take off for me. My relationship with my children and family began to blossom. I was slowly and deliberately becoming the woman that had been buried deep inside of me. The woman I chose to bury because of low self-esteem and a totally unhealthy self-image. LEAP introduced me to Center for Social Change, Inc. I began to work at the front desk for The Center on a volunteer basis; after a few months I was hired on PERMANENTLY! I now worked for two amazing organizations: LEAP and C4SC. Through the collaboration of these two organizations, LEAPers no longer had to go to the Salvation Army or any other homeless shelter upon release. They have HOME now. The Sacred House for LEAPers was birthed in January 2017. I was asked to be the “House Mom.” At first I was hesitant, but after a talk with Gemma Garcia, LEAP’s co-founder, I was given a new perspective. Now, I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything… I have learned to give the ladies the room they need to grow. Most of all, I have learned a little bit of LOVE goes a long way. My acceptance of and belief in them actually encourages them to become the best women they can be.

 

In April of 2017, I became a small business owner. I used the skills I learned in LEAP to launch A Cleaning Queendom LLC – A full service home and office cleaning company.

 

…LEAP is a GREAT program and it’s all Because of You!

Rebecca Brown, who was a victim and aggressor of domestic violence, created a business plan to raise awareness about domestic violence. “Trac Z” will sell wristbands that link to an online resource of support for domestic violence victims. One dollar from each band will go toward battered women’s organizations. It’s a business model that is “very dear” to Brown’s heart. Other business ideas range from a wellness center to a hotdog stand, each one imbued with the woman’s passion, interests, and business savvy.

Class 11 (2016)

Sheila Jackson shares: “For five years I was incarcerated at Broward Correctional Institution in Fort Lauderdale. Through LEAP, I learned business skills such as budgeting, marketing, and how to get business licenses. I also learned life skills. Can you believe that I walked out with a business plan in my hand? In June 2013, I opened Sheila’s Fresh Catch in Liberty City selling conch salad and fritters, fried fish, French fries, and chicken wings.”

Class 1 (2009)