Preparing blind and visually impaired youth for a brighter future by gaining life skills, work experience and community involvement.
LEAP provides blind or visually impaired youth the opportunity to gain the skills needed to become independent, confident, and productive with the outcome of increased employability.
Quick Facts About LEAP
Begin your journey to independence.
What is LEAP?
LEAP offers three and seven week residential summer work based programs in which students live in college dormitories and practice independent living skills. LEAP also offers workshops throughout the year focused on teaching self-advocacy, job skills, assistive technology, and more.
Who can enroll in LEAP?
Young men and women ages 14-24 years old who are blind or visually impaired. We are also accepting applications from out of state members!
What training will I receive?
LEAP provides year round work shops and intensive summer residential experiences which includes living in community housing while focusing on independent life skills, leadership, and gain work experience.
LEAP Program Opportunities
Learn more about the different programs offered to find out which experience might be best for you!
Intro to LEAP is an opportunity for 14-15 year olds to experience the LEAP lifestyle. The students will participate in work-based learning, volunteering and practice independent living skills. Youth will meet and interact with the older students creating opportunities for peer mentoring.
The Summer Work Experience Crew program provides youth, 16-24 years old, who are blind or visually impaired the opportunity to gain job readiness skills. This program is good for those who have no had any or little work-experience. The LEAP program is a great balance of leaning new skills and enjoying all that Vermont’s outdoors has to offer in the summertime– for instance sailing, swimming, and visiting the local Farmer’s Market!
The Internship Program provides youth adults with seven week summer internships based on their career goals in the Greater Burlington area. Interns work independently at their internship site to learn professionalism, effective communication, and responsibility to prepare for competitive employment. Interns work and live in Burlington under the guidance of trained Crew Leaders. Interns must be 18 years old and prepared to take public transportation on their own to their work site. Past internship sites have included Sangha Yoga Studio, Mt. Mansfield Media, Burlington City Arts, The Sara Holbrook Community Center, WBTV Radio Station, and more.
LEAP hosts three Professional Growth Retreats during fall, winter, and spring. Each retreat focuses on a specific theme of professional development. Past Retreats have included Workplace Relationships, The Resume, The Interview, Storytelling, Technology and Transportation, and more.
Ski and Snowboard Event – February 9th-11th
Join LEAP for a Ski and Snowboard weekend with USAVA and Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports this winter! This is an opportunity to connect with people who are blind and visually impaired from around the country, and adventure on the mountain. Students will practice communication, independence, goal setting, and networking skills. See downloadable materials below to sign up! PLEASE NOTE: If you have attended this event in the past, you DO NOT need to complete the Client Profile.
Find out what our past students have to say about their time at LEAP.
I am most proud of being able to run a broadcast on my own. I once thought that being blind was going to make radio impossible for me to pursue, but this experience helped me understand my abilities. -Alek, LEAP Intern
Another important skill I improved while staying at the LEAP program, is the ability to be more spontaneous and challenge myself. I think I’m much more adaptable now. In fact, I have already engaged in some spontaneous, unstructured activities since returning to Oklahoma. I think my meticulous behavior is much more balanced now. – Rilee, LEAP Crew Member
LEAP Retreats have helped me make friends and keep connections. Seeing people at the retreat and then during the summer keeps our connection stronger. -Abshiro, LEAP Student
Business Enterprise Program
BEP is a proud partner of LEAP
In 1936 the Randolph-Sheppard Act (20 U.S.C. Section 107 et seq.) established the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program, more commonly known as the Business Enterprise Program (BEP). Here in Vermont, the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI) is the state licensing agency administering this program. BEP is a self employment program. The federal and state laws governing this program require that candidates are to be legally blind, a U.S. Citizen, and must complete our training program. Licensed Operators are trained to run one of DBVI’s food service facilities as self-employed entrepreneurs, keeping 100% of the profits! Our facilities consist of cafe and vending machine operations, located in federal and state building throughout Vermont. Qualified candidates are assigned to facilities as they become available.