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LEAP 2.0 Kick Off Meeting in Baltimore: “Envisioning something that’s totally and radically different”

Traveling from all over the U.S., 22 LEAP partners, 10 Casey Foundation team members, 10 SMI Liaisons, and 4 powerful Youth Leaders convened at the Indigo Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland on June 13, 2019 for the LEAP 2.0 Kick Off.  This 2-day conference hosted by the Casey Foundation and facilitated by School & Main Institute challenged participants to take a deeper dive into the practices and approaches implemented at their individual programs, then invited them to dig in a little further.  Local partnerships spent the last 3 years adapting the core beliefs and structures to better align with to scale their LEAP strategies across multiple youth systems in order to increase access to and build systems that support quality education and employment pathways for young people facing some of the greatest challenges on the path to adulthood.

Race Forward presented on racial and ethnic equity and inclusion.   The room was captivated by their workshop, especially since our young people face racial and ethnic equity issues on a daily basis in almost every aspect of their lives.  As a diverse community, we are shifting the narrative to create opportunities for advancement that include all youth. 

In just a 2-day time span, teams celebrated each other’s successes, acknowledged challenges, started mapping out methods for shifting program strengths to system wide strengths, and took in an Oriole’s baseball game, even though some of us are die-hard Red Sox fans.

In a Nutshell

Founded in 1985 at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy and Management, School & Main Institute (SMI) has grown into a nationally recognized, independent non-profit training and partnership development organization that has worked with organizations and state agencies in more than 35 states.


School & Main Institute staff and faculty have years of expertise as organizational leaders, program developers, trainers, and facilitators in the fields of education, workforce preparation, youth and community development.

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