Girls’ LEAP – Teen Mentor Program

LEAP achieves its mission through a unique combination of physical self-defense and social-emotional training. Young people will have the chance to recognize and develop their physical strength by practicing physical self-defense. Experiencing the power in their bodies gives them the confidence to use their voices, set boundaries, create healthy relationships, and develop into leaders.
Our Teen Mentor program employs teens to master these skills themselves and then serve as near-peer mentors in Girls’ LEAP programs. During summer, they impact 75-100 additional youth through such activities. In addition, the Teen Mentors engage in training and discussion on social justice topics relevant to their lives and community, such as racism, sexism, discrimination, violence, explore their intersectional identities and how those identities impact the way they move through the world. Most importantly, Teen Mentors get to practice their leadership skills and see the impact they have on others in real time.

Mah Camara, a Teen Mentor, described the impact it has had on her and the youth she teaches:
“Nothing in this group made me feel anything less than powerful. If I was scared to do something, they would encourage me. If I was nervous about signing up for something, they said, ?what?s the worst that can happen?? I did things that I had been scared to do forever and I said things that I had been scared to say forever. And over time, I began to open up. In working with the girls in our programs I feel that with my growth, comes their growth. I can bring my full self to the girls and that makes it possible for them to fully connect with me. In this last program I was in, the girls were pretty shy at the beginning but as we went along, they became comfortable with telling their stories. LEAP changed all these participants and changed me…. I can tell you, we changed these girls’ lives ? we made them ready for the world!? Mah herself, has been accepted into a college of her choice with a generous scholarship award.