Learn Earn and Prosper (LEAP) Program

General Program Information

The 2013 LEAP Crew standing on the lawn behind the West Monitor Barn

LEAP Crew

Corps Member Job Description

LEAP Internship Program

Intern Job Description

Information for Out of State Corps Member Applicants

LEAP Crew Leader Job Description

Policies

Partnering Organizations
 


 

 

The 2011 LEAP Crew on the Deck of the Ticonderoga Ship

 

 General Program Information

 

The Learn, Earn, and Prosper (LEAP) program provides youth, 16-24 years old, who are blind or visually impaired the opportunity to gain the skills needed to become independent, confident, and productive young adults. The goal of this program is to increase the employable skills of youth in transition which will help lead to meaningful employment.  The LEAP program is a great balance of learning new skills and enjoying all that Vermont’s outdoors has to offer in the summertime — for instance sailing, hiking, and visiting the local Farmer's Market!

In 2013, 14 Corps Members representing 4 states participated in the LEAP program and over the course of 4-8 weeks they learned how to:

   - Cook delicious meals
   - Create a budget
   - Use a cash register, repair computers and/or serve customers in retail and food service settings
   - Take public transportation
   - Create lasting friendships
   - Kayak on Lake Champlain
   - Build a community
   - Have FUN!!

Check out the LEAP Crew blog and 2013 LEAP Crew video below to learn more about their adventures.  This video highlights an educational opportunity within the program as the footage was taken by a past LEAP Corps Member who was interested in exploring documentary film making. 

 

 

In 2014 we will offer two distinct LEAP programs: the LEAP Crew for youth 16-22 and the LEAP Internship for youth 18-24.  

 


LEAP Crew

Session 1: June 14 - July 11, 2014

Session 2: July 13 - August 9, 2014

The LEAP Crew is an intensive residential program where a team of 6-8 Corps Members have a chance to practice living independently under the guidance of two experienced VYCC Crew Leaders.  Members learn how to cook meals, shop for groceries, budget money, use public transportation, do laundry, and live as a community -- all while making friends and sharing new experiences!

LEAP Corps Members work at one of two job placements three days a week, work with the Farm at VYCC two days a week and participate in weekly career and college readiness workshops with Navicate.  Weekends are spent as a crew exploring all the Burlington area has to offer: canoeing, hiking, swimming, attending a play, visiting the museum, practicing yoga, taking art classes, etc. 

Throughout this whole experience the crew lives in an apartment on the UVM campus where they can practice independent living skills, such as learning to buy groceries, cooking healthy meals, doing laundry and sharing chores around the apartment. 

ReSOURCE

Derek, a LEAP Corps Member, standing with his ReSOURCE trainer in the donations bay at the Home Goods Store

One of the job training sites for the LEAP Crew is ReSOURCE.  At ReSOURCE, Corps Members receive job training which in turn helps ReSOURCE to continue its mission of teaching individuals in transition valuable job skills and technical training.  Many tasks and projects must be completed in order to help ReSOURCE run efficiently and effectively.  To learn more visit www.resourcevt.org.

Corps members may receive job training in one or more areas including customer service, working in the home goods store, dissembling computers, small appliance repair, carpentry, and office administration. 

Overlook Café

The Overlook Café is a Randolph Sheppard site and serves as the other LEAP Crew training site. 

At the Overlook Café Corps Members learn job skills including customer service, food preparation, menu pricing, cash register use, and office administration.

Jon, a LEAP Corps Member, standing in front of the Farm Barn at the V.Y.C.C.The Farm at VYCC
Two days a week the LEAP Crew travels to Richmond, VT to work with Farm Crew.  The LEAP crew works as a team to weed gardens, harvest and wash vegetables, weigh and pack weekly Health Care Shares and prepare for the Farmer’s Market.

Navicate 
Navicate connects schools and students with businesses and community organizations to create real-world learning opportunities.  One morning a week the LEAP Crew participates in workshops with staff from Navicate.  These workshops cover essential career skills such as interviewing, budgeting, and resume writing.   www.navicate.org

 

WoRD - Writing, Reading and Discussion

Built into each day is one hour for the VYCC educational program, WoRD. Using a compilation of articles and essays, crews read aloud about important environmental and social issues that are relevant both locally and nationally. The crew then engages in thoughtful discussion and spends time journaling on the topic. The goal of WoRD is to explore new topics and help participants articulate their thoughts and opinions in a safe environment. WoRD books are available electronically and in large print and Braille.


 


LEAP Corps Member Job Description

Dan, a LEAP Crew Member, removing nails from lumber at the ReSOURCE Building Materials Store.

Responsibilities
   - Work hard as part of a team
   - Participate in all VYCC activities, including WoRD, group training exercises, and community activities
   - Respect fellow crew members and the natural environment
   - Share all cooking and cleaning duties
   - Complete safe, high quality work on all projects
   - Abide by all VYCC rules and policies

Qualifications
   - 16 - 24 years of age
   - Strong desire to join the VYCC and work with others
   - Ability to follow directions and independently complete tasks
   - Willingness to learn, receive feedback, and work hard

Benefits
   - Weekly Salary $306.25 per week
      * Salary is based on a 35 hour work week at $8.75 an hour
   - Learn transferable job skills
   - Become a member of a positive community
   - Develop independent living skills
   - Have the experience of a lifetime!
 

Click HERE! to download an application. 


For questions regarding the LEAP program, please contact

Kaelyn Modrak at (585)755-8064

 

 


 
June 14 - August 9 2014
 
The 2011 LEAP crew at the Richmond Town Green
 
The LEAP Internship Program will pilot in 2014 and will build upon the foundation of the LEAP Crew.  Youth will have the opportunity to continue building their transferable job skills and independent living skills in a supportive environment.  Four interns will work and live in Burlington under the guidance of one VYCC trained Crew Leader.  Each intern will have an independent work site and will take public transportation to and from work to further prepare for competitive employment.  VYCC staff will work with interns on an individual basis throughout the application process to find a worksite that meets their work goals.  
 
Nights and weekends in the LEAP Internship Program will be spent as a group with interns having the opportunity to explore Burlington and continue developing their independent living skills.  Interns will take yoga, attend a play, visit museums, try rock climbing, visit the Farmer's Market and explore the city.  Interns help support eachother through these new experiences and they will be able to meet with the LEAP Corps Members for weekly potluck dinners to share about their experiences and build a larger community.  
 
Throughout the eight week internship, participants will be encouraged to progressively take on more independent tasks at the worksite and to take on more reponsibilty for aspects of community living such as meal planning, grocery shopping, communty involvement, planning weekend activities and organizing chore charts.   
 
 
 

Intern Job Description

 
Responsibilities
   - Work hard as part of a team
The 2012 LEAP Crew eating soft shell tacos they made in their cooking class.
   - Participate in all VYCC activities, including WoRD, group training exercises, and community activities
   - Respect fellow Interns and the natural environment
   - Share all cooking and cleaning duties
   - Complete high quality work
   - Abide by all VYCC rules and policies 
   - Abide by all worksite specific policies
 
Qualifications
   - 18 - 24 years of age
   - Strong desire to join the VYCC and work with others
   - Ability to work independently with minimal direct supervision
   - Ability to follow directions and independently complete tasks
   - Willingness to learn, receive feedback, and work hard
 
Benefits
   - Weekly Salary $350.00 per week
      * Salary is based on a 40 hour work week at $8.75 an hour
   - Learn transferable job skills and job specific skills in area of interest
   - Develop comfort using public transportation
   - Become a member of a positive community
   - Develop independent living skills
   - Have the experience of a lifetime!
 

Click HERE! to download an application. 

For questions regarding the LEAP program, please contact

Kaelyn Modrak at (585)755-8064

 

 


Eric, a LEAP Corps Member, picking blueberries.Information for Out of State Corps Member Applicants

In 2013 we were excited to open the LEAP Corps Member position to out of state applicants for the first time.  We welcomed youth from New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.  We are looking forward to working with even more states in 2014!

Cost

Due to a generous grant from the Gibney Family Foundation, the cost for an out of state applicant for 2014 is reduced.  In the state of Vermont the Vermont Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired pays the tuition cost for the Vermont Students attending the LEAP program.  Please contact Kaelyn Modrak with questions regarding out of state applicants.

Logistics

Each Corps Member in the program is responsible for their transportation to and from the program.  The program will start and end at the West Monitor Barn at 1949 East Main Street, Richmond, Vermont.

 

 


LEAP Crew Leaders Job Description

Job Dates: May 28 – August 11, 2013A LEAP Corps Member and Crew Leader working together to set up large tents as part of a volunteer project.

As a VYCC Crew Leader you will serve as a teacher, work supervisor, and a role model for your crew of young adults. Together with another leader, you will be responsible for:
   - Building a community
   - Overseeing the health and safety of your crew
   - Professionally managing your work project
   - Teaching both life and job skills
   - Ensuring that high quality standards are achieved
   - Facilitating crew education, including the WoRD program
   - Upholding the VYCC’s mission statement

Training

LEAP Crew Leaders will spend two weeks partaking in intense residential training designed to teach the technical and interpersonal skills needed to be a successful leader at the VYCC. In addition to what is taught, each leader is encouraged to further develop their own strengths and enhance their existing skills. The long days and nights spent as a group during training will also contribute to building a strong community of leaders, who learn just as much from each other as they do from the rigorous training sessions.

A sample of topics covered at Staff Training:
   - Community and teambuilding
   - Crew management and motivation
   - Risk management and Emergency Response Plans
   - Cooperative leadership
   - Administrative paperwork
   - How to facilitate WoRD
   - What to know when working with people with visual impairments

A LEAP Corps Member with their crew leader weeding a vegetable garden.

After training, leaders will have a few days to plan and prepare for the arrival of their crew. This preparation will include site visits, vehicle and gear distribution, and contacting Corps Members to make sure they have everything they need for their crew experience. 


Challenges and Rewards

The combination of a diverse crew with excellent, trained leaders working together creates a personally challenging and educationally rich experience for everyone involved. Once your crew arrives, you will combine your previous experiences with what you've learned at training to transform your crew from a diverse group of strangers into a tight-knit community.

It will not be easy. Days (and some nights!) will be long, and you and your co-leader will have a roller coaster of experiences. However, in the end, leading a group of young people through the development of new skills will teach you and your crew lessons you will use for the rest of your lives. 

 

Crew Leader Responsibilities

   - Provide leadership, supervision, motivation and direction to a diverse group of Corps Members who are blind or visually impaired
   - Effectively work with a co-leader
   - Build a healthy community
   - Uphold VYCC Mission
   - Train crew in work skills and independent living skills
   - Enforce VYCC Policies and follow appropriate discipline procedures
   - Facilitate the WoRD Program, and integrate environmental education into crew experience
   - Process paperwork and payroll
   - Maintain regular communication with supervisor and VYCC headquarters
   - Take responsibility for personal development and engage in VYCC Leadership Review process
   - Use sound judgment to navigate difficult situations and decisions
   - Write a detailed final evaluation of the program
   - Ensure that healthy food is prepared
   - Budget management and bulk food purchasing 

Qualifications

   - At least 22 years old
   - Preferable background in education or residential therapeutic setting
   - Leadership experience with diverse groups of young people.
   - Budget management and bulk food purchasing experience
   - Excellent organization and communication skills
   - Ability to adapt and be flexible in a variety of situations
   - Strong work ethic and ability to work long days in challenging conditions
   - Maturity, optimism and a sense of humor
   - Standard First Aid/CPR
   - A good driving record and a valid driver's license held for a minimum of 3 years.
   - Willingness to undergo a criminal background check
 
Benefits

   - Competitive Salary of $500 per week 
   - Room and Board
   - Pro-deals and discounts with local businesses
   - Valuable Job Skills 
   - Learn work project management, supervisory, and leadership skills.
   - Exceptional Work Environment 
   - Live and work with a community of people just minutes from downtown Burlington, Vermont!
 

Click here to apply!

We will begin taking applications for 2014 in January.  For more information about a LEAP Crew Leader position, please contact Kaelyn Modrak at (585)755-8064 or Kaelyn.Modrak@vycc.org
 

 


LEAP Program Policies

 
These policies apply to all Corps Members, Interns and Staff employed by the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. 
 
Immediate Dismissal Policies
The following actions are not tolerated in the LEAP program:
   - The possession, use, suspicion of use, or being in the presence of Tobacco, Alcohol, and/or Drugs
   - Physical Intimacy
   - Fighting
   - Stealing
   - Harassment
 
General Crew Policies
Below are policies that we firmly believe contribute to a healthy community. We expect all members of the crew and internship program to observe these policies throughout the duration of the program.
 
   - Use appropriate language 
   - Follow the supervisor's directions 
   - Work hard and to full potential 
   - Arrive on time 
   - Use equipment properly 
   - Keep a positive attitude 
   - Participate in all activities 
   - Be a consistent member of the team 
   - Avoid exclusive relationships 
   - No iPods unless they are used as assistive equipment.  Contact Kaelyn with any questions.
   - Follow all crew-specific policies
 

 


The 2013 LEAP Crew standing in front of the Gibney Family Vision Center as they prepare for mock interviews with Navicate.

The LEAP Program is a partnership between the VYCC and

the following organizations:

 


“Before LEAP Crew, I was a very shy and insecure individual.  I had never had a job and never met other visually impaired or blind people.  I was hesitant to join the VYCC at first but the idea of learning important job and living skills as well as interacting with other visually impaired people my age was appealing.  Since joining VYCC, I have been strongly encouraged to voice my opinion and help others find their voices as well.  Having a job for the first time is a very rewarding feeling and I’ve made a lot of what I feel will be lifetime friends.” – Vanessa, 2013 LEAP Corps Member