LEAP is the first of its kind and the only entrepreneurship training and support program dedicated to preparing incarcerated women to re-enter society in Florida and be economically independent. LEAP strives to provide female inmates with the necessary skills and training to gain employment upon their exit from prison as well as providing the knowledge and education necessary for creating a small business. The goal of our program is to provide participants with the tools and support to sustain themselves by gaining employment or creating their own economic opportunities. Our training program aims to reduce recidivism among released female inmates in Florida, which in turn will reduce the number of repeat offenders and ultimately strengthen the community.
Our vision is to be the leader in empowering women who have been incarcerated to transition successfully into society and live transform self sufficient lives. The number of ex-offenders who return to prison during a specified time determines the rate of recidivism. The high rate of recidivism increases crime and violence in our communities. Ex-offenders who have been released and commit new crimes place a burden on the community. Statistics show that children whose parents have been incarcerated are more likely to become offenders. As a result, families are broken and hopes and dreams are shattered. It costs taxpayers more money to house an inmate in a state correctional facility than it does to contribute to their education at a college or university. The expense of housing an inmate is greater than the cost of training and assisting an incarcerated inmate, or empowering an ex-offender to become employed or a self-employed individual. Our expectation is for our graduates to transition from being a tax burden to being a taxpayer and a contributing member of their respective communities. Though our vision is to make a positive impact in the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward, we also believe that LEAP can be used as a role model or pilot to reduce recidivism throughout the state and the country.
LEAP presents two in prison re-entry programs per year. Phase I of the in-prison program, extends over a five months interval. The program emphasis is on entrepreneurship and employability training. Entrepreneurship is the primary focus of the program. This portion is presented by Barry University professors and it educates participants (LEAPers) on how to start a small business. Modules include marketing strategies, preparing a business plan, daily business management, and financing a business. All participants are required to write and present a polished business plan at the conclusion of the program. The Employability portion of the program provides thorough and interactive job search preparation including resume preparation, job search skills/tips, case studies and role playing. The employability training is designed to inspire strong work ethics and integrity, create financial literacy, enhance computer skills, and provide career advice specific to the barriers ex-offenders will confront. Phase II of the in-prison program begins upon completion of Phase I and runs approximately three months until the program participants are released from prison. The participants collaborate with the case manager for re-entry life style modifications, ADL’s (activities of daily living) and with Miami Dade College Through the partnership with Miami Dade College, LEAPers have the opportunity to continue building and implementing the entrepreneurship and employability skills learned in Phase I In both Phases, the LEAP staff and numerous volunteers present modules on entrepreneurship, employability and life skills. By completing the multi-disciplinary entrepreneurship curriculum, participants develop the financial literacy along with interpersonal skills and knowledge needed to create a micro-enterprise post release, or enter traditional employment. To help with the re-entry process LEAP employs the services of a case manager who works with the program participants (Phase II of the in-prison program) in order to assess and identify needs and resources needed post release. In the post incarceration period, the case manager follows up with the LEAPers once a week and leads participant’s reunions. LEAP provides support in the area of housing, building relationships, financial management, and life skills. LEAP also acts as a “bridge” to multiple resources and service providers supporting re-entry. These include, but are not limited to, housing, transportation, micro financing, continuing education, clothing, health, and social services. This service is continued for a period of one year after release. Beyond that point, LEAPers are expected to stay involved as LEAP volunteers. We have broken ground as the first entrepreneurship training program in the Florida prison system economically empowering female inmates re-entering society. In 2014, we established the LEAP Business Mentor Program. This program connects LEAPers with experienced and qualified mentors in the business sector. Given LEAPers do not have access to internet, mentors assist LEAPers with obtaining information for their business plans which are being developed as part of their entrepreneurship training with Barry University. Additionally, these professional one-on-one relationships are vital in assisting LEAPers with their transition into the community. Once released, the mentors can continue assisting their mentees in improving their business plan so as to try to make it a reality and can also help them identify possible employment opportunities. Through the Center for Social Change, LEAP was able to employ one of its LEAP program graduates to act as Development Manager/Job Placement/Client Advocate for the graduates entering the community. GET INVOLVED
 (786) 401 - 2070
PO Box 848 Miami, Florida 33143

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