Life-Skills, Empowerment, And Development Services (LEADS) is a Pinellas County, Florida non-profit dedicated to helping families with children prenatal to 18 years. LEADS offers FREE programs designed to work jointly to promote emotional, social, and academic competence and to prevent, reduce, and treat behavioral and emotional problems and risk-taking behaviors, problems that if addressed properly can improve their life trajectory.
LEADS provides services to families by offering free parenting classes at schools, in churches, and pediatric clinics. Classes implement The Incredible Years and are offered on weekends and weekday evenings. The programs strengthen parent-child interactions and attachment, reduce harsh discipline and foster parents’ ability to promote children’s social, emotional, and language development.
LEADS also offers “Mama and Me” a parent participation preschool for mothers, fathers, grandparents and other caregivers of children 6 months to age 5.
We partner with public schools, preschools/daycare centers to support teachers. The Teacher curriculum focuses on strengthening classroom management; promoting student’s pro-social behavior, emotional self-regulation and school readiness; and reducing children’s classroom aggression and noncooperation with peers and teachers.
THE NEEDS FOR PROGRAMS LIKE THE INCREDIBLE YEARS AND “MAMA AND ME” IS GREAT
Among those children most in need of a school readiness experience are those with behavior problems. They are most likely to exhibit continued learning and behavioral difficulties and to drop out of school.
Two Key Findings of the National Prekindergarten Study (NPS), conducted at the Edward Zigler Center for Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University are:
- Prekindergarten students are expelled at a rate more than three times that of their older peers in the K-12 grades.
- The likelihood of expulsion decreases significantly with access to classroom-based behavioral consultation.
Children expelled from prekindergarten are much more likely to be ill-prepared for school, and are likely to be among those most at risk for school failure. The LEADS programs address this need by providing teachers and parents with the skills to support positive child behavior. Our programs are offered in African-American and Hispanic communities, but LEADS serves families of all ethnicities.