AmeriCorps LEAP Initiative

AmeriCorps LEAP Initiative

Heather from Southern Minnesota and Her Program Manager

AmeriCorps LEAP (Learning Early Achieves Potential) Initiative is an evidence-based social emotional learning (SEL) preschool program based on science of the developing brain 0-5, impact of stress on learning and memory.  We give children ages 3-5 the tools and experience to practice the skills they need to develop self-regulation, social awareness, and decision making skills (executive function) so they can enter Kindergarten ready to learn.  As expanded SEL support, we give children monthly book gifts for routine home reading with parents/caregivers that research shows strengthen bonds and expands word awareness supporting early literacy.

Essential qualifications for serving in the program:

  • Deep enjoyment working with preschool age children
  • Confidence to take initiative; curious to learn as you go
  • Patience and empathy for low-income and struggling families
  • Open perspectives on diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Ability to think out of the box and creatively to connect instruction to age and development
  • Effective time management and organizational skills to reach goals
  • Ability to build interpersonal relationships that are supportive and effective when communicating, using deep listening, non-judgmental approach, and thoughtful reflection
  • Interest in sharing and supporting a team; stepping up to contribute; not stepping back when facing challenges
  • Ability to go with the flow with resilience; positivity and often needed humor

Top reasons that members like serving in this program:

  • Children spread their joy every day
  • Have a network of professional support and connection
  • Education award and professional development for “Life after AmeriCorps” planning
  • Gain knowledge about stress, its impact on bodies, minds, and ability for learning, happiness, and optimism

Application Information and Link to Apply: 

Applications taken year round for Service Terms that start each August and end July 15 the following year.

Application link:  www.smifoundation.org

Visit the AmeriCorps LEAP website to apply.

Meet a AmeriCorps LEAP Initiative Member

She was excited for the opportunity to serve her hometown community before going to graduate school.
Reading to Kids

How AmeriCorps LEAP Initiative Creates Change

Members serve in centers with PreK children to positively impact their communities and ready children for a strong future.