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Interested Communities

Thank you for your interest in bringing The Leaven to your community. We are pleased to provide you with this overview of our program to help you in your consideration.

The Leaven Model

The Leaven targets at-risk elementary-aged students in a proactive effort to prevent negative behavior before problems occur.

  • K – 5th grade students
  • 4 in 5 are ethnic minorities
  • 35% are African Americans
  • 30% are Latino
  • 50%+ are from extremely low-income households

We do not act as a standalone after-school program with limited operating hours. Rather, we become fixtures in the neighborhoods we serve, offering — in addition to after-school tutoring — weekend activities, summer and winter break educational programs, family-inclusive programs that empower parents to take a more active role in their children’s studies and the community, and events for the entire family.

The goal of The Leaven is to reflect Christ’s love and mercy through our actions. Our program model focuses on three primary areas to accomplish this:

  1. Homework assistance, tutoring and skills building
  2. Reading enrichment
  3. Nutrition and physical activity that promote health and reduce childhood obesity
  4. Programs such as Zumba, Farm to Families and cooking classes to strengthen entire communities.

Helping local churches increase their ministry in Leaven communities and among our students and their families.

Through these three areas of focus, The Leaven address deficiencies in core academics (math, reading, and science), improves school behavior, is instrumental in the reduction of crime, violence and blight in the communities where we work, and gives families an opportunity to connect with a local church and develop a relationship with Christ.

This model has produced impressive results, including:

  • Crime reduction averaging 10 to 20 percent in and around established Leaven centers.
  • Educational progress; teachers have stated that four in five Leaven students show significant improvement in reading.
  • A twenty percent increase in rental occupancy rates in complexes with established tutoring centers.
  • Opportunities for church congregations that provide 600+ hours a month of volunteer service and minister hands-on with in-need communities in their neighborhoods.

The Leaven’s Structure

The Leaven firmly believes that an inclusive, community-based effort is the best way to have a positive and lasting effect on a community’s health and wellbeing. To accomplish this, we mobilize the diverse backgrounds, talents and experiences of collaborating partners and local volunteers. Our programs provide a platform for partners and volunteers, through our centers, to have a resounding impact on the lives of at-risk children in the community.

Partners With The Leaven

Three important partnerships increase our effectiveness and sustainability in the community:

  • Inclusion of the management of low-income, multi-unit housing in our planning;
  • Collaboration with local law enforcement; and
  • Relationships with faith-based institutions.

Property management companies provide space and utilities for a tutoring center at their expense. This significantly reduces The Leaven’s operational expenses and increases sustainability. The fact that the presence of the center increases overall property occupancy provides a compelling reason for property management to invest in the program.

Local law enforcement provides an initial secure and safe presence as we establish each new tutoring center and build bridges to the communities. This leads to more empowered residents who cooperate with law enforcement to reduce crime and gang activity in their neighborhoods.

Partnerships with faith-based institutions provide a strong volunteer base for tutors and mentors, and can help The Leaven access other community resources that enhance the program.

Required Resources

Establishing a Leaven center requires the following commitments:

  • A 200 to 500 square foot facility with a bathroom and a secure play area;
  • $30,000 to establish the center and operate it for the first year;
  • $18,000 in ongoing funding each subsequent year;
  • Local faith-based individual and church partners who will support the center and minister to community residents.

Funding, both for the start-up and ongoing expenses, generally comes from these sources:

  • Government and/or foundation grants
  • Fundraising events
  • Individual donations
  • Corporate donations
  • Apartment ownership