United States of America
Since 2014, MindLeaps has served over 10,000 children across the globe. In 2022, MindLeaps is expanding into our seventh country, the United States of America.
MindLeaps’ first-ever New York City program launched on January 11, 2022. This pilot project is organized in partnership with the community-centered non-profit Children of Promise located in Brooklyn, New York.
Children of Promise is the first and only after school program and summer day camp in NYC specifically designed to meet the needs, interests, and concerns of children whose parents or guardians are incarcerated.
Through the MindLeaps Dance & Data program at Children of Promise, four MindLeaps dance teachers worked with 20 children, ages 8 & 9, twice per week, for 1.5 hours each class, over the course of six months, from January through June 2022. The program is designed to support 7 specific social-emotional and cognitive skills, thereby increasing the children’s emotional resilience and positive life decision-making.
At the end of the program, on June 16, the MindLeaps students showcased what they had learned to their counselors and peers in a final performance in the auditorium. Watch the performance:
In its second project in New York City, MindLeaps is working with 6- & 7-year-old scholars at Children of Promise in the Bronx. The Summer classes for the 6- & 7-year-old scholars are co-designed and co-taught by MindLeaps Teacher Training Specialist, Caitlyn Casson, and dancer-choreographer-educator, Key’Aira Lockett, with Children of Promise counselors present at all classes. The activities and movements in the 2-hour classes are designed to be fun, demanding, and kinesthetic, inspired by MindLeaps’ foundational curriculum for boosting social-emotional learning skills. Held on Mondays and Wednesdays for 6 weeks, the classes are off to a wonderful start. After the first day, the children eagerly asked their counselors at Children of Promise “When is MindLeaps on the schedule?” They didn’t want to miss a MindLeaps day! By the end of the first week, the children had learned battements and a modified version of the MindLeaps warm-up. In week two, they moved-on to saut de chats, and started to learn muscles like hamstring. Some of the children were able to show that they remembered, and could even lead, the first part of the warm-up. The classroom walls include picture-boards of agreements about classroom rules, one of which the scholars came up with on their own: “Let’s Keep Our Hands to Ourselves!” Attendance fluctuates between 15 and 25 children, many of whom are experiencing homelessness in addition to having an incarcerated parent.
As we continue to run pilot programs in NYC, MindLeaps is currently seeking male-identifying instructors in NYC with backgrounds in education, dance, movement or sports. The instructors should have experience working with children. These are paid positions with paid on-the-job training.
BIPOC instructors are strongly encouraged to apply.
The instructors will work on a team of certified MindLeaps trainers with one or more cohorts of children and youth from under-resourced communities in New York City.