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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

MindLeaps

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Dance

Mission: Mindleaps uses dance to develop the cognitive skills and social-emotional learning of at-risk youth to ensure they can succeed in school, enter the workplace and leap forward in life.

Programs: Mindleaps served 270 youth in rwanda. Mindleaps served 65 street children and vulnerable youth at our center in the capital of kigali. These children participated in a dance program to develop cognitive skills and improve emotional regulation. Based on the measurement & evaluation system used to measure the students' learning progress, we found that, on average, children improved their cognitive and non-cognitive skills by 35% over 7-10 weeks in the program: www. Mindleaps. Org/research. While participating in the program, these youth also receive a daily meal, health/hygiene products, hiv/aids testing, it training, and clothing. Students advance from the dance program into skills training. New in this fiscal year, the students received academic acceleration courses to help them catch up to the appropriate school level and be ready to enter formal education. This acceleration program was led by teachers from the local white dove girls' school and provided the students with english, kinyarwanda, math, science, and social studies courses. In addition, students received workshops in adolescent and sexual health. In january, mindleaps sponsored our top 55 students to attend school in rwanda. Of these youth, 70% performed in the top 20% of their academic class. Lastly, mindleaps had 150 rural youth participate in a program to improve basic health and sanitation in rugerero. Amounts presented as grants represent donations restricted to the rwanda mindleaps programs.

in fy17, mindleaps grew its partnership model, where mindleaps partners with organizations serving vulnerable youth in order to provide our dance program. In january 2017, we worked with hias to improve the life skills of 75 refugee children coming from 7 different countries. A team of four mindleaps staff provided 8 hours of training each day: 3 two-hour dance classes for students, followed by a two-hour training for 10 hias staff. The program served refugee children from burundi, democratic republic of congo (drc), eritrea, rwanda, somalia, south sudan and sudan. In february, mindleaps' launched a three-month program in mauritania that ran from february to may. Mindleaps partnered with local ngo sos pairs educateurs, which serves youth and vulnerable people in el mina, the poorest of the nine sectors of nouakchott. The joint program provided three months of dance classes for 117 youth at the sos pairs educateurs centre and at nouakchott's juvenile detention centre. Mindleaps staff also provided training in the mindleaps' methodology for 10 local mauritanian teachers to continue the program. Finally, mindleaps ran our annual bosnia-herzegovina partnership program, where we served 80 youth. In total our partnerships served 272 youth. Amounts presented as grants represent donations restricted to these partnership programs, and revenue is where the program was paid for by the partner as a fee-for-service.

in fall 2016, mindleaps partnered with local ngo guinea edugrade to provide a steam program for 44 youth. The group of students received daily it and english classes, participated in mindleaps dance program, and received nutritional support. In june 2017, mindleaps opened its first permanent center in the capital city of conakry to provide our dance and english classes, as well as meals, to 44 youth daily. Also this year, mindleaps partnered with canadian ngo ruben's shoes to transport and distribute over 13,000 pairs of donated shoes to guinea. The container shipped from vancouver, canada, on september 26, 2016 and arrived in conakry on november 14, 2016. Over the next six months, the shoes were distributed at 26 different orphanages and schools to thousands of youth and families across the country. Amounts presented as grants represent donations restricted to the mindleaps guinea program.

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

MindLeaps has an incredible program that focuses on working closely with their children, provoking solid and long-lasting impact. This positive change is made possible by the uniquely passionate work of people from all layers in there, from the administrators to the dance instructors.

Julia S.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with MindLeaps for two years, working on projects in Rwanda and Guinea. As a medical student with a background in dance, I am constantly astounded by the impact of MindLeaps work - through the dance curriculum - to promote the development and well-being in children living in extremely challenging circumstances. Most recently, I had the opportunity to help document Success Stories of students whose lives have been transformed through their involvement with MindLeaps. Learning about the future aspirations of these students as both dancers and academic students drove home for me how far into the future MindLeaps' impact will extend for these students and their communities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Interning at MindLeaps this past summer was such an amazing experience and a great introduction into learning about international development. This experience allowed me to witness the shockingly significant impact small nonprofits can have. I am genuinely impressed at how two amazing individuals here in New York City, Rebecca and Eleanor, can work to change the lives of so many vulnerable children in several countries in Africa. Their dedication towards fulfilling their mission of equipping at-risk youth with the necessary skills to leap forward in life continues to inspire me. I am glad I was able to get involved with MindLeaps and am excited to see what the future holds for the organization as it continues to expand and change the livelihoods of many more children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working with MindLeaps for the past year to help them develop their health program. I've been so impressed by the passion, perseverance, and compassion of the MindLeaps teachers and the impact they're able to have on vulnerable children's lives. MindLeaps offers a unique model that truly engages with young kids, teaching them invaluable skills and getting them back on a path of success. I feel lucky to have been involved.

Ali H.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MindLeaps has been an important part of my life for about three years. I came across MindLeaps while looking for amazing entrepreneurial women to speak on a panel event I was helping produce at the time. Rebecca (Director) graciously accepted to speak on that panel, and after hearing her speak I felt inspired and compelled to volunteer to contribute to MindLeap's incredible work. Eleanor (Assistant Director) is such a special person because she takes the time to understand what a volunteer's talents are, and place that volunteer with projects that will help them not only positively contribute to MindLeaps, but also grow as an individual in the process. I mentioned to Eleanor that I studied abroad in Guinea and that I loved reading/writing in French, so Eleanor asked me to help translate French articles/blog posts from the Guinea MindLeaps office. I felt so lucky to be given the chance to help as a volunteer with such an important task. I hope one day to travel back to Guinea, this time with MindLeaps as a volunteer. The dedicated, hardworking ethic of the MindLeaps team and their genuine care for their powerful mission are the characteristics that makes MindLeaps one of the best non-profits I have ever had the honor to connect with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first came across MindLeaps a little over a year ago, when I saw an internet posting looking for a video volunteer. As I started volunteering more and more of my time, the thing that struck me most (and still does) about MindLeaps is the team's dedication. Between Rebecca, Eleanor, and all volunteers around the world, everybody is trying to enrich the lives of these children through the MindLeaps Program. For my small part, I have enjoyed being part of this winning team, and I look forward to watching MindLeaps continue to prosper in the coming years.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first came to know about MindLeaps about a year ago. With an amazingly dedicated team, MindLeaps is trying to bring the kids, who deserve a lot but hardly get anything they need, back to school in several countries in Africa. It’s often frustrating to realize how much we have to do with very little that we have to make this world a better place. But we still have hope because there are people like MindLeaps’ who are willing to go beyond their abilities even after knowing all their limitations. Hope they keep bringing more and more smile.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had heard about MindLeaps and actually went to Rwanda to see their operation for myself. They are doing AMAZING work - you can see the change they are making in the enthusiasm of the kids for their dance program, and for the motivation and support the kids are getting to continue their education. MindLeaps is clearly carrying out its mission in a direct, hands-on way. I saw how MindLeaps is putting its funding directly to work for the kids, and is fulfilling the promises it makes to them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with MindLeaps has been a great experience! I've been able to work with team members on the ground across time zones to create health education materials for MindLeaps program participants. The leaders and staff members are passionate about the mission and vision of the organization and everyone works hard to have them realized.

Alexis R.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the summer I worked for MindLeaps as a marketing and development intern. I could not have asked for a better experience. Rebecca and Eleanor are two of the most hard working people I have ever met. Their passion and dedication shine through in everything they do. I felt lucky to have a small hand in such a wonderful organization. While I was there, I saw so much growth from within and I can’t wait to see them to continue to progress and make a change in so many young lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MindLeaps is such a wonderful organization, and both Rebecca and Eleanor are so passionate in the work they do. During the time I volunteered with them, Rebecca and Eleanor were always smiling at work, and their enthusiasm and kindness is truly reflected and conveyed in the hard work they put into MindLeaps. The change and help they give to the children is so important and powerful. I am so thankful to have volunteered with Rebecca and Eleanor. They, and the work they do, are inspiring.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MindLeaps is an amazing organization that does incredible work.

I'm a software engineer volunteering for MindLeaps since 2015. For a while, I was trying to make my skills useful for something that has a real impact on real people's lives. I definitely found that with MindLeaps.

Right from the start, I was impressed by how MindLeaps understands that technology is important, and tries to leverage it in a smart way to help people, and, at the same time, doesn't fall prey to the tech hype.
Technology is used at MindLeaps to document homeless children's lives, track their success in MindLeaps educational programs, and help make a decision about when is a child ready for formal education. My time couldn't have been spent volunteering for a better organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

MindLeaps brings hope to children who believed they had no future. The MindLeaps curriculum cultivates children's passion for dance into tangible development in cognitive and social skills, which makes it unique from any other program. It is inspiring to hear the success stories of those who progressed through the program and how their educational and professional goals have evolved due to their growing confidence and skill-set. Ever since hearing about the program from Executive Director Rebecca Davis I was hooked and wanted to learn more and do more to help. I joined the Board of Directors earlier this year and will make my first trip to Rwanda in January.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with Mindleaps in my senior year of college and I helped them create a website where all the information and experiences of their past volunteers could be displayed. I took on this role because I love how the organization is able to change the lives of so many young kids in several parts of the world, especially in Africa. I guess I felt some kind of connection to their vision, being Nigerian myself. It gave me joy to contribute to the goals of Mindleaps and to provide a platform where prospective volunteers can be encouraged to change the lives of others through dance!

Sydney E.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern at MindLeaps this past summer. It was such a great experience and everything I learned is so helpful both for school and life in general. I was also so inspired by the work MindLeaps does and the amount of hope and joy it gives to the students. I left feeling so optimistic about both the work of non-profits and the power of dance. I will treasure those experiences for years to come! It is an organization full of love and change!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been to Rwanda several times to visit the MindLeaps Center and to meet the children. I have seen firsthand the remarkable transformation in these vulnerable youth within a period of just a few months. The loving care with which they are greeted and the devoted Rwandan teachers and staff have created a nurturing and safe environment that brings out the best in everyone. All of this and so much more is accomplished through the tireless efforts of MindLeaps' Executive Director Rebecca Davis.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a ballet dancer, I was particularly drawn to help fundraise for MindLeaps because it uses dance to help underserved children in Guinea, Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Most of these kids live on the streets. I am impressed that MindLeaps combines dance classes (which builds confidence while instilling discipline) with educational workshops. The workshops teach computer skills and provide lessons in health and water sanitation. So dance is a vehicle to truly improve these kids’ lives.

Talia K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of volunteering with MindLeaps for the past 3 years. Through its kinesthetic based curriculum, MindLeaps brings joy, education, and life skills to the street children in its programs. It has been so inspiring to see how MindLeaps and the kids in their program have grown over the last few years. MindLeaps truly is helping the kids in their program leap forward in life. I have worked with many different members of MindLeaps's staff; every employee and volunteer is passionate and enthusiastic. I have helped with organizing data, social media outreach, press releases, and promoting MindLeaps's mission. MindLeaps has inspired me to use my love of dance to impact my global community! I look forward to volunteering more!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

MindLeaps is a wonderful organization that is run by caring professionals. It is extremely organized and has an effective pedagogy that has truly changed the lives of children in need. Anyone who is interested in making a noticeable change in the lives of children should get involved with MindLeaps!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the time that I've worked with Rebecca (Director) and Eleanor (Special Programs Manager), I've learned so much about how to run a non-profit and what it truly means to do what you love. Every day was inspiring and different. I've seen first-hand how MindLeaps has impacted the lives of vulnerable children and seen the many children that still need our help. I've connected with some of their volunteers (Julia, Carlos and Chase) during their trips to Rwanda and Guinea and have heard nothing but praise from them. I hope to keep volunteering for MindLeaps and to eventually travel to Rwanda or Guinea as a part of their program.