About Us

Our Mission & Vision

LEAP (Language Empowers All People) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to research-driven language and literacy development in low income communities. LEAP’s programs are proven to accelerate self-confidence and fulfillment in children, parents, and educators.

LEAP believes if you can speak, write and communicate effectively, you command the most important tools to achieve your life goals. LEAP believes that words are tools…to read, think, speak, imagine, cooperate, problem solve, and, ultimately, empower.

LEAP History

In 1986, LEAP’s Founder and Executive Director, Catherine Gottfred, volunteered her services as a speech pathologist with children in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood. Her work revealed that youth in this community faced a major language gap with significant academic and social consequences. Children and young adults were not properly equipped to start or be successful in school, or to deal with the many emotional challenges presented by their socioeconomic environment.

LEAP was soon born to bridge this learning gap and give under-served children and teens an opportunity to increase their quality of life. After first working with the children themselves, Dr. Gottfred and her colleague, John Lybolt, Ph.D., decided to expand LEAP’s impact. Dr. Gottfred and Dr. Lybolt began training other teachers, tutors, and educators how to engage students in carefully structured lessons and activities that would cultivate oral and written language skills.

Thirty years later, LEAP continues to carry out its mission in low-resource classrooms across Chicago. With a highly experienced staff representing decades of collective experience, LEAP has reached tens of thousands of teachers and low-resource students and families through cutting-edge language and literacy development programs, impacting their clients’ professional and personal livelihoods.

Our Mission
LEAP was born to bridge the language gap and give under-served children and teens an opportunity to increase their quality of life.
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LEAP Empowers through Language

LEAP (Language Empowers All People) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to results-driven language and literacy development.  Leap's programs are proven to accelerate self-confidence and fulfillment in children, parents and educators.

Develop Your Career While Contributing to Your Community

VOLUNTEER

Volunteering with LEAP is a meaningful way to invest in your community. It can also be very educational as you experience some of the best language and literacy development programming in the country in action

Opportunities

LEAP strives to match volunteer interest with an organizational need.

Get Started!

We will make every effort to situate you in a rewarding volunteer project that meets your interests and talents.

Current Volunteers

Share with us the work you’ve been doing!
“Organizations like LEAP are essential toward preparing students for 21st century post-secondary pathways. At Intrinsic Schools, we value greatly LEAP’s commitment to this preparation, and as a result of their programming we have seen real growth in our students’ ability to represent themselves publicly.” -- LEAP's Impact In 2016.
$ 230
Over $230,000 Raised
500 +
Kids helped in programs
100 +
LEAP Volunteers
  
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