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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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with MindLeaps over several years and have been extremely impressed with the quality and effectiveness of its programming and its efficient use of resources. This past year, it has expanded to several new locations, and it is wonderful to see MindLeaps being able to serve more children around the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MindLeaps is a fantastic organization that I can't praise highly enough. I've been volunteering with MindLeaps for the past several weeks, and have been extremely impressed with the important work that MindLeaps is able to accomplish, and with the passion and work ethic of founder Rebecca Davis and Special Programs Manager Eleanor Milburn. Learning about the needs MindLeaps seeks to address and the life-saving work MindLeaps is able to accomplish has been eye-opening. MindLeaps work changes the lives of not only the children they are able to educate and take off the street, but also their family and future generations, as the benefits of attaining education and escaping the poverty cycle reverberate endlessly. MindLeaps is a one-of-a-kind organization that does vital, irreplaceable work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MindLeaps is a truly remarkable and innovative organization. The MindLeaps' centers located around the world are safe spaces where the kids can be vulnerable, take risks, and feel loved and wanted. Most spectacularly, Rebecca (founder) and the entire staff recognize the potential in every child - and they help them all see extraordinary futures for themselves. Kids who once thought an awesome future was out of reach, now dream of becoming engineers and even doctors. Through a unique dance curriculum enriched by English and IT classes, the kids develop an invaluable skill set learning things like grit and discipline, and teamwork and creativity that allows them to succeed once they are able to return to traditional schooling. And it works. MindLeaps partners with researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Drexel Universities to constantly collect data on the students' progress in the development of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. The research clearly shows the program's effectiveness. You can see the results of the MindLeaps' programs every single day spent in the field. The impact that this organization has on the lives of so many kids is obvious and extraordinary. I am very proud to be associated with this remarkable non-profit.

Nicole168

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization is filled with heart, soul and results!! I have taught for MindLeaps for 2 years both nationally and internationally and have witnessed the positive progress of many children. This growth takes place in both short term and long term involvement in the program because it is designed to help children find the tools they need to develop a healthy and confident sense of self. This is all achieved through the beauty, joy and dedication to dance and the cognitive development it encourages. Not only has data research has been done to show the growth of children in these programs, I have witnessed children soar into their futures because of this curriculum. The children are excited to come to class, eager to learn and absorb information. In the Rwanda program, I have seen children open a laptop for the first time and months later they are sending me e-mails in English. The program provides positive role models, support, personalized attention and care to each student. They children begin to see the fruits of their own dedication and perseverance and realize that they have the power to make their lives what they dream them to be. MindLeaps is a strong and extremely organized non-profit that is changing lives daily. I am very honored to be a part of it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MindLeaps is a truly magical place. A place where young students show up, on their own merit, excited to learn in a loving and comfortable environment. MindLeaps has become a big family for these children and that caring presence is so powerful and present every second of everyday spent behind the happiest bright green gate in Nyamirambo.

Andee D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am in awe of the work that MindLeaps does for populations of street children around the world. I visited the MindLeaps site in Kigali, Rwanda and got to experience first-hand the dance curriculum and witness the positive impact it had on the children. As a dance/movement therapist, I see tremendous potential for this program to promote growth in cognitive and psychosocial development. MindLeaps's founder and executive director, Rebecca Davis, is one of the most generous, compassionate, and tireless workers I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been proudly volunteering with MindLeaps and I can say it's an amazing program run by passionate people. It's rewarding to see children in post conflict countries progressing and preparing a future for themselves with the help of talented dancers and educators.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about the incredible non-profit organization MindLeaps through my acquaintance with the Executive Director, Rebecca Davis. Th is a wonderful organization that, through the medium of dance, helps get homeless children off the streets and into a learning environment. Through the physical joy of moving their young bodies to music, and the discipline of daily practice, (and with the aid of a square meal and adult support), these children eventually build up a set of cognitive skills that will give them self-confidence and lead to them to further opportunities to take classes in English and computer skills, and get off the streets into a better way of life. It is a joyful organization that helps many children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so proud to volunteer for this amazing organisation. MindLeaps combines my two passions, helping others and teaching dance. The first time I heard Rebecca speak after receiving the Generous Hearts Award at the Dance Studio Life conference, I knew I wanted to become involved. I feel very fortunate that I can help out this passionate cause. MindLeaps is changing lives for the better and inspiring others to do so along the way.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been an international trainer and administrative assistant with MindLeaps for the past 3 years and I could not be more proud to be associated with this organization. The entire MindLeaps community is firm in the company's mission to better the lives of underserved youth in post conflict countries. I believe the efforts of the staff, teachers and board of directors are clearly seen in the students' smiles and energetic "go get em" attitudes seen each day in the field.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to MindLeaps for several years and am consistently impressed with the effectiveness of the organization in achieving their goals as well as how far my donations go in the field. Mindleaps has a very small administrative staff and yet they are able to help a large number of children in post-conflict countries. It makes me happy to know that my contributions are making a difference for the lives of many young people in Rwanda, Bosnia and Guinea.