What We Are All About
The Leadership Learning Center (LLC) is a pilot program rooted in a long history of service to others, which aims to create positive change in Little Havana by instilling in its participants self-respect and self-esteem through personal and academic achievement, a love of learning and respect for others. By involving parents directly in their child’s education, facilitating parent-school communications, and building bridges to available social services, the LLC alleviates pressure on parents and empowers them to become the guide their child needs to succeed. Hope for the future, personal achievement, and self-reliance will help these children steer clear of community risk factors.
A child is not simply an independent bucket into which knowledge can be dumped to be retrieved later. He or she is part of a family, a neighborhood, a school and a community. As future leaders, each LLC child is taught to understand the value of all of these and how their choices affect each. This being the philosophy of the program, it, too, must be a full participant in each child’s circle of influence. By including social strategies as part of each child’s individual learning experience, the LLC addresses not one symptom of a student’s academic performance, but the foundations upon which learning can take place.
Understanding that children in unstable homes — where there is unemployment, illness, hunger, abuse or crime — cannot put aside their own worries and fears in order to free their mind for creative thinking and learning, the LLC has become a safe place for parents and caregivers to share their concerns and problems with the program director, a social worker, and develop plans to improve conditions for their children. The LLC also benefits from the generosity of friends, corporations and patrons who contribute goods and services to ensure that the students’ families have a greater chance at creating a home where their children can thrive, grow and learn.
Additionally, the Leadership Learning Center benefits from the services of dedicated volunteers, including a medical doctor, an information systems specialist, media representatives, and a public administrator. A cadre of students from local catholic high schools assists with mentoring and engaging the children in sports and creative play. Together they form a significant array of role models for program participants to emulate.
Funding for the Leadership Learning Center comes primarily through a grant from the Children’s Trust and donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals.