In the summer of 2018, Rachel (shown second to left with her fellow LEAP Facilitators) had just finished her last semester at Saint Michael’s College. She didn’t yet have a job lined up, a place to live, or a solid idea on where she even wanted to live, or what kind of job she wanted.
During a particularly difficult time during college, she was told that everything she was struggling with academically and personally would eventually make her a better educator and a stronger person. At the time she didn’t fully believe this, but now after completing the summer as a LEAP Summer Facilitator, she recognizes how in line this is with the LEAP philosophy and her motivation to effect positive change in every situation.
Learn, Earn, And Prosper (LEAP) is a program of ReSOURCE that provides youth who are blind or visually impaired the opportunity to gain the skills needed to become independent, confident, and productive with the outcome of increased employability. LEAP is all about personal and professional development. Students, facilitators, and supervising staff are expected to be open to feedback and motivated to grow. This alone made for a very supportive work environment different from any other Rachel had experienced. She witnessed over and over again the value in being open to feedback about the things we struggle with.
The Summer Program Facilitator positions with LEAP are an incredible opportunity if you are interested in education, special education, non-profits, management, psychology or simply a passion to help others. In training and throughout programming, the importance of being solution-oriented is stressed, and Facilitators are taught there are no problems we cannot solve, just challenge that give us an opportunity for growth, to look at situations with a new perspective.
Supporting students daily for seven weeks recognizing their strengths, what they can work on, and determining the steps to actually do something about it, held Rachel accountable in doing the same in her role as a facilitator and in general, in her life.
A common theme that Rachel saw with people in all roles of LEAP was a desire to keep learning. Rachel did not have a visual impairment and there were definitely instances where there were aspects of an activity that she did not consider a challenge because that is not her personal experience. But she appreciated being in an environment where students would feel comfortable pointing these things out and where they were, in turn, be receptive to feedback to not give up in hard situations and find creative solutions.
Through LEAP Rachel gained valuable experience both living and working with students and seeing how they operate in different areas of their lives. Rachel is now a full-time AmeriCorps member with ReSOURCE, supporting the facilitation of programs similar to LEAP for students with disabilities and adult returning to the workforce in job skills training.
If you or someone you know is looking for an incredible opportunity to be challenged in a very supportive environment while living the summer in Burlington, Vermont, see the full job position description and apply on our website: LEAP Summer Program Facilators