Three Phase Approach
Using a three-part model, MindLeaps prepares street children to re-integrate and succeed in the formal education system while gaining valuable job skills through vocational training.
Dance is used as an entry point to the development of a street child’s mind. Kids come off the streets and into our center to attend a “fun dance class”, but in reality, this is a carefully crafted curriculum focused on developing 7 cognitive and social-emotional skills – ranging from memorization to teamwork. This training “catches up” the street children to a normal level of cognitive development while shaping their behavioral transformation from aggression and survival to optimism and discipline.
As the children start to develop an understanding of a structured learning environment, they move into Phase Two: academic & vocational training, which includes academic acceleration courses, computer education, and English Language classes. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, this phase includes an ongoing dialogue on social and ethnic reconciliation.
In Phase Three, MindLeaps identifies the children that have continued to thrive in this more traditional academic setting and have grown and stabilized across the 7 skill areas. These youth receive multi-year sponsorship to attend school in their own country. Children who make it to school essentially break the poverty cycle because they receive the basic skills to become self-sufficient through their education. Other students who have excelled in Phase II are tapped for work-study positions in English or IT.
Dance initiates the transformative process of children by building cognitive skills and a sense of inner confidence. This shows him that he has the capacity to learn.
Children further develop cognitive abilities and acquire job skills through vocational training (IT or English Language).
Top performing students are sponsored to attend local boarding schools – thereby exiting life on the street and giving youth the power to advance their own lives.