a leap of faith
Since our inception, LEAP has served nearly 3,000 children through our free after-school and summer school programs. These programs originated as a non-sectarian outreach effort on behalf of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tustin as church members, neighbors, parents, teachers and school administrators banded together to ensure that economically disadvantaged and English Learner students who were struggling in school had access to the additional support and educational resources necessary for academic success. Due to the momentum and support our programs garnered over time, LEAP was able to secure a nonprofit 501(c)(3) status in 2008.
In September 2013, the Tustin Unified School District (TUSD) offered LEAP the opportunity to move our after-school program on-site at two Title I schools in the TUSD, making it possible for us to provide a more comprehensive approach. Having LEAP available on-site meant that we could work directly with our students’ teachers and provide targeted reading instruction that was tailored specifically to each child’s needs. At this juncture, we decided to revise our program and focus solely on growing our after-school LEAP Reading Intervention Program.
In 2015, in recognition of the overwhelming success and effectiveness of our program, the TUSD provided partial funding support to enable LEAP to expand its services to an additional two Title I schools in the TUSD, increasing our reach—from 80 students to 132 students—at four Title I school sites.
Our team of tutors, which is largely comprised of retired school teachers, and college students from the University of California, Irvine, are trained with the latest research-based strategies that have been proven to help struggling readers. Year after year, the impact of our LEAP Reading Intervention Program has been proven through the exceptional growth that our LEAP students make in pursuit of their grade level reading goals.
We are extremely thankful for the steadfast community support that has enabled LEAP to accomplish so much, on such a small budget, and has allowed us to continue to offer our program completely free of charge to our students for nearly 20 years!
Executive Director - Sally Parkin
Sally Parkin, a California credentialed teacher and Reading Specialist, was hired as the Executive Director of LEAP in 2000. Mrs. Parkin worked tirelessly to develop a very specific curriculum that would address and meet the needs of struggling students—especially English Learners. She is responsible for the entire program design and implementation of LEAP, in addition to the overall administrative, financial and reporting duties required of a nonprofit organization. Over the years, Mrs. Parkin has volunteered and supported many philanthropic causes including Junior League, PTO, the Foothill High School Education Fund, Orange County Philharmonic Society and other local endeavors. However, her true passion rests in education. Mrs. Parkin's outstanding work at LEAP is a testament to her commitment to ensure that all students, despite their circumstances, are given the tools and the opportunity to succeed.