Our Story

LEAP began in 2008 when a volunteers from St. Philip's and St. Luke's Episcopal Churches began providing English-as-a-Second-Language tutoring to adults at Iglesia El Buen Pastor and recruiting other parishioners to join her.  


In 2010, the adults at El Buen Pastor asked the volunteers  to shift the their efforts to their school-aged children.  For the next two years, volunteers from St. Philip's, St. Luke's, and Iglesia El Buen Pastor worked together to provide tutoring for children twice/week, focusing specifically on their literacy skills. The volunteer Program Coordinator developed a training for tutors drawing on the practices developed by the Augustine Project in Chapel Hill and based on an Orton-Gillingham approach to literacy instruction.  Trained volunteers continue to meet twice/week with students who are developing their literacy skills. 


In 2012, LEAP created its first preschool class, created a board of directors and began hiring part-time staff. In 2013, LEAP added a second preschool class, became incorporated in the state of North Carolina and applied for tax-exempt status from the IRS.  LEAP opened its second preK in 2015, the EDCI/LEAP Academy, in partnership with the East Durham Children's Initiative.  In 2019, LEAP created its first class for 3-year old children at Nuestra Escuelita, bringing the number of 3 and 4-years olds served at both sites to almost sixty.  It also (re)created an ESL class for adults, coming around full circle to where it started.


Board Members

Rebekah Cid
del Prado

VP, Human Resource Development, Cooperativa Latina

Credit Union

Jennifer DeCoste-Lopez

Clinical Associate, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University School of Medicine

Elizabeth Edmiston

Senior Software Engineer, LucidWorks

Milagros Francia Garnique

LEAP Parent, Community Volunteer

Miriam Guerrero

LEAP Parent, Owner, Creaciones López

Mercedes Jaramillo-McCurley

Parent Liaison/Interpreter, Durham Public Schools 

Yu-Lin Amy Lee

Assistant Professor, Duke Internal Medicine and Pediatrics/Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Nancy Pike

Community Volunteer

Habacuc Ramos-Huerta

Rector, Iglesia El Buen Pastor

Jim Reingruber

Board Treasurer

Assistant Director, Solid Waste, City of Durham

Sally Starrfield

Board Vice Chair

Human Resources Specialist and Assistant Director, Duke University Summer Session

Helen Svoboda-Barber

Rector, St. Luke's Episcopal Church

Shawn Sullivan

VP of Analytics Consulting Solutions, Blue Cross, Blue Shield of NC

Jennifer Trapani

Co-founder and Chief Underwriting Officer, The Redwoods Group

Sarah Wood

Board Chair

Attorney and Community Volunteer