Strengthening Families in the Communities We Serve: The Comprehensive Programs of LEADS

Since its inception in 2017, Life-skills, Empowerment, and Development Services (LEADS) has been dedicated to equipping young people and families with the tools they need to succeed in life. With a focus on building healthy relationships and making smart life choices, LEADS has become a beacon of hope and support for middle and high school students as well as families across Florida.

HEARTS-H: Supporting High School Students
HEARTS-H, another impactful initiative, targets youth aged 14-19 in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Running from September 30, 2021, through September 29, 2024, HEARTS-H delivers the Love Notes 4.0 curriculum in a camp-style setting. This engaging format helps teens learn about healthy relationships, decision-making, and personal development. Over 1,200 youth have participated in HEARTS-H, with completers receiving an Amazon gift card and referring organizations receiving incentives. Partners include churches, youth groups, private and charter schools, and sports teams, with notable partners like Boley Centers, Safe and Sound Hillsborough, St. John Missionary Baptist Church, The Next Stepp Center, SailFuture Academy, and Code Red Royals.

Effective Black Parenting Program: Strengthening Families
The Effective Black Parenting Program (EBPP) is a group-based parent skills training program designed to serve Black American families. EBPP aims to promote family pride and cohesion and help families cope with the negative effects of racism. This program teaches skills that, while designed for Black American families, are beneficial for all families. Culturally specific strategies include positive communication about heritage, coping with racism, establishing daily chit-chat times for parents and children to communicate, and using African proverbs to illustrate the cultural roots of program content.

STEP-UP: Engaging Fathers for Child Mental Health
The STEP-UP Program (Steady, Trusted, Engaged, Participating, and Understanding Parent Fatherhood Program) addresses childhood mental illness by focusing on a root cause: the lack of father involvement. Numerous studies suggest a link between greater father involvement and positive child mental health. STEP-UP engages primarily Black American fathers in South St. Petersburg with the 24/7 Dad fatherhood curriculum. Fathers who complete the program receive a $50 gift card, fostering their commitment and participation.

Building Strong Community Partnerships
LEADS prides itself on its robust network of community partners. By collaborating with a diverse range of organizations, we ensure our programs are accessible to as many young people and families as possible. Our extensive partnership network helps us reach a broader audience and provide comprehensive support.

A Commitment to Excellence
At LEADS, we are committed to continuous improvement and excellence. Our programs are designed to be culturally relevant and developmentally appropriate, ensuring they meet the needs of the diverse populations we serve. By constantly seeking feedback and striving for quality, we ensure our initiatives make a real and lasting impact.

Looking Ahead
As we continue our journey, we are excited about the future and the opportunities to expand our reach and deepen our impact. We remain dedicated to our mission of strengthening families in the communities we serve.

For more information about our programs or to get involved, please contact Marlaina Satcher, CEO of LEADS, at Stay connected with us through our blog and social media for updates on our activities and achievements.