Life Enhancement & Academic Development (L.E.A.D.) After-School Program
The largest of our programs, the After-School program is a high-touchpoint and high-impact program that runs year-round at the Learning Center in Kigali, Rwanda. This program is strategically designed to support youth in two main areas:
- Life Enhancement: Equip and empower youth with life-skills training to help them care for themselves and their communities and live longer healthier lives into adulthood and
- Equip and empower youth with life-skills training to help them care for themselves and their communities and live longer healthier lives into adulthood.
All activities are run out of the Learning Center, which is equipped with a water filtration system, healthy food provisions at each session, dependable electric lighting and a caring staff. The Learning Center provides children with a safe place to learn, grow and develop into positive role models in society with a greater chance of long-term success.
Specifically, LEAD provides access in the following critical focus areas:
- Clean water filtration (filtering over 2000 liters annually)
- Hot meals with every after-school session (serving over 9,000+ meals annually)
- Electricity and internet which allows video presentations on a projector and light for children to finish homework assignments and get tutoring
- A large classroom equipped to teach various lesson plans
- A separate back wing from where the soap project operates
- The chicken coop that produces daily eggs
- A private girl’s room with a bed and feminine hygiene supplies
- Large backyard with a vegetable garden and banana trees
- Mentors and teachers who inspire and build confidence in our children!
The learning center is a central place of love and caring that is also used by our parents committee for meetings, for parents vocational training, birthday and holiday celebrations, and traditional dance practice, which is taught every Saturday at the center.
Skill development workshops are designed to meet the desires and needs of the participating children. Ranging from art and local dance to sports to leadership and behavior development programming, LEAD students are exposed to a variety of activities and workshops to help them develop skills, practice their passions and become more confident, engaged citizens. In many cases, we expose the children to new concepts in the arts to help them discover their passions and interests. Self discipline is also taught with how to care for themselves and one another. Students are also able to speak to a full time social worker about personal issues and challenges they face at home and in the community, which offers another level of emotional support. Ensuring that children grow in their confidence and abilities in turn results in providing them hope and optimism later in life.
LEAD participants have access to English as a Second Language (ESL) classes using a year-long curriculum, native Kinyarwanda language classes, daily homework help, and an on-site library equipped with 150+ books (written in Kinyarwanda and English). Extra tutoring is provided for those students getting ready to take their national exams as well. The unique and flexible curriculums developed help the youth learn in new interactive ways, which will improve their grades in school.
We want to ensure that our efforts and programming works and therefore, the children are measured by their participation and testing on subject matter. We realize the very diverse and challenging backgrounds of youth in this program so each child’s performance is treated uniquely. Children are expected to give 100% and to communicate challenges to their caregivers and or Hope Shines staff to ensure they are staying on track. Quantitative standards are set to help us measure the acceptance of our efforts but numbers don’t always tell the entire story of the success/unsuccess of the child. For this reason, we use metrics to identify when a child is struggling and we seek out ways to help them when they are. Standing by our value of Commitment to Children, we take great care to treat every child the way they need to be treated based on their individual challenges.
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