Did you know that the largest employer of young people in New Haven is LEAP?

It’s an organization that is designed to help young people in the Elm City.

LEAP stands for: Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership. It works within five New Haven neighborhoods.

They are not only some of the poorest communities in the state, but the poorest you will find in the entire nation.

“We work with about 550 kids at any one time and about 1,200 kids over this course of the year,” said LEAP Executive Director Henry Fernandez.

So, the opportunity to participate in free programs provided by LEAP has many kids diving in.

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“LEAP plays a very important role in that we have a great after school program and we have a great six week summer camp,” Fernandez said.

Access to pools for inner city kids is limited, but the lessons taught go beyond that.

Kids are taught by young, local “leaders in training” like Nazair Peters, who is giving back to a place that has given to him.

“I’ve been with LEAP since I was 12 and they have looked out for me ever since then,” he said.

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Now at UConn, it was LEAP that helped him get into college, helping to make life-changing decisions and learning life-improving skills.

Howeverm the state budget shortfall has slashed LEAP’s funding more than half.

Partners and private donors have stepped up, and many more are needed.

Watch the video above to learn more.