Learning Leaders Opening Kickoff Party for their Volunteers, featuring a welcome by President Mindy Duitz, emcee, Carol Anne Riddell, and Chairperson, Iris Weinshall Schumer.
Learning Leaders recruits, trains and supports 14,000 school volunteers who work with over 265,000 students — over one-fifth of the New York City public school population — in over 960 schools throughout the five boroughs. Founded in 1956 as the New York City School Volunteer Program, Learning Leaders was the first program of its kind in the country and served as a model for developing school volunteer programs in other major cities. Learning Leaders has grown to become the largest school volunteer and parent engagement program in the city and a valued partner of the New York City Department of Education.
Learning Leaders' mission is to help New York City public school students succeed by training volunteers to provide individualized instructional support and other school-based support, and by equipping parents to foster their children's education development.
The impact of Learning Leaders' programs is amplified when parents/caregivers utilize their training and newfound skills to help their own youngsters at home, move into leadership positions in their children's schools, and even jumpstart their own educational and career goals -- often pursuing careers in education. The presence of Learning Leaders volunteers in schools also allows teachers greater instructional flexibility and has been found to positively impact the overall quality of the school environment, including improved attendance, school safety and communication between parents, teachers and school administration.
After undergoing Learning Leaders' thorough screening and training, each volunteer gives a minimum of two hours' service per week, for at least one entire school year, working with students in pre-K through 12th grade in reading, writing, English as a second language, math and other subjects. In the upper grades, volunteers help students prepare for Regents and other critical examinations and assist with college and financial aid planning. Special Program volunteers enrich school curriculum with art/visual literacy and literature instruction. Volunteers also provide non-instructional aid, such as general office, classroom, and library support. Experiences are as diverse as the volunteers and encompass countless relationships that have helped make a difference in the life of a young student and enriched the life and culture of a school.
In addition to parents, volunteers include business people helping to prepare a capable labor force, retirees with a lifetime of experience to share, college students exploring career paths, and other concerned community members.
Learning Leaders was incorporated as a independent not-for-profit organization in 1970. The Learning Leaders budget is $4.7 million for 2007-08. As a private, not-for-profit organization, Learning Leaders raises 75% of its funds from foundations, corporations and individuals. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Council.