L.E.A.D. Promising Youth’s Tutoring and Mentoring Program has been serving St. Louis since 1992. Developed by tutor and retired Ladue teacher Dotty Pressman-Tepper, the program was originally a part of the Guardian Angel Settlement Association and named the Hosea House Tutoring and Mentoring Program. In 2013, we began a transition to an independent 501 (c) (3) organization, and gained independent status effective December, 2013.
L.E.A.D. reserves membership to students living below the federal poverty line. Believing quality education forms the foundation for an individual’s success, our agency greatly enhances our students’ resources, giving them access to nearly 200 contact hours of tutoring and mentoring each year, and 24/7 access to math and reading curriculum online. We also secure other essentials, such as nourishment and back-to-school clothing, so that our students have everything they need to excel.
During the summer, students are treated to a host of memorable field trips that complement their month-long immersion program. Our older students received a docent-led tour of St. Louis’ Holocaust Museum, and identified the relevance the Holocaust has to our lives today.
A L.E.A.D. donor generously secured docent-led tours at the St. Louis Art Museum for each of our age groups, allowing each to benefit from the exposure this city gem offers its guests. Since gaining independent status, L.E.A.D. students have made a yearly trip to the art museum. Our most recent trip was to view the Kehinde Wiley Exhibit. We had the opportunity to view the celebrated Museum masterworks that inspired the portraits of St. Louisans and discussed not only the comparisons, but the power of the pose in each portrait.
The St. Louis Zoo proved again to be a venue with endless learning opportunities! Younger students were awarded scholarships to attend St. Louis Zoo camp prior to the commencement of L.E.A.D.’s summer program. Many of those attending nominated themselves to be “docents” when L.E.A.D.’s entire membership returned later in the summer. These docents could be heard proudly sharing their recently-acquired expertise with their fellow classmates, while simultaneously (and glee-fully) absorbing more information.
St. Louis’s world-renowned children’s museum, The Magic House, gave our younger students the chance to explore and just have fun being a kid. The middle and high school students enjoyed a day to plan, create , and eat a truly delicious lunch.
The trip to the Missouri Botanical Gardens was a favorite with all. A contest was held for the best picture of a flower and who could find their way through the maze in the shortest amount of time. Our younger students thoroughly enjoyed the children’s garden, while the older ones explored all parts of the garden.
In addition to several field trips, L.E.A.D. students enjoyed tremendous excitement working with state-of-the-art technology. The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund and The Saigh Foundation teamed together to grant L.E.A.D. the resources to purchase digitized math and reading curriculum that is available around the clock, anyplace the internet can be accessed, and in real-time. This began to give our teachers a better understanding of where their students were performing, and how we could help them in their academic growth. A recent Ladue Chapel grant has expanded computer access for our students at home now as well. Through active participation in online learning in the math and reading programs at home, each family is earning the right to own the ipad or acer that they are currently “borrowing”. Students also participated in myriad of activity centers allowing them to practice skill-building in different and unique ways. Some went outside to practice and write about mindfulness that required engaging most of their senses and created outside murals. “Exploding” science experiments and Math puzzles all added to an enjoyable summer of learning.
A trip to a Girl Scout camp proved to be an amazing experience for our students. It was filled with activities that most of our L.E.A.D. students had never experienced. Canoeing and archery topped the list of favorites!