NJ Leep

By on Mar 21, 2024 in Giving

NJ Leep, founded in 2007 in Newark, New Jersey, works to close the educational equity gap for first-generation and low-income students with skills, experiences and exposure to achieve their college and career ambitions.

NJ Leep starts with students in middle school and lasts through college by building academic and social-emotional skills:

Middle School: Students come to NJ Leep in the summer and focus on experiential learning.

Ninth Grade: Students participate in the Summer Law Institute, learning about the legal system and careers. Throughout the year, they transition to the Constitutional Law Debate program, which extends to 10th grade. This program helps support students with critical thinking, research skills, analytical writing, public speaking, and self-confidence.

Tenth Grade: During the summer, incoming sophomores participate in Week on The Job, a series of four micro-internships designed to expose them to careers.

Eleventh Grade: Students participate in the Junior Year Experience, which includes intensive support on standardized test prep. They also continue developing social-emotional skills and learning about college applications.

Twelfth Grade: Students receive intensive support on all aspects of the college application and decision-making process, including essay writing, financial aid forms, application completion, and college decision-making.

College and Beyond: Students receive ongoing check-ins, access to the NJ Leep network, and regular webinars and events to help them thrive in college.

All students attend a twice-monthly Saturday writing program to learn and practice their writing skills in various modalities. NJ Leep hopes to expand its programming by partnering with schools in Newark to create school-based programs to reach more students with NJ Leep opportunities.

“Building life skills and social-emotional learning is woven into each program year. Students learn time management, building healthy relationships, communication, task management, building a college-going identity, and more,” said Caryn Tomljanovich, managing director of development for NJ Leep.

Funding from Yardi helps support NJ Leeps’ core college-bound program, which will serve over 360 students in the coming year.

“We are so excited to have a new community partner in Yardi and are looking forward to getting your employees engaged with some of our many volunteer activities,” expressed Tomljanovich.

NJ Leep Student Success Stats

NJ Leep has many success stories in its network, and the numbers are impressive for its students. 100% of NJ Leep students graduate from high school. Among those students, 99% enroll in college, and 74% complete their college degree within four years. NJ LEEP students enroll at a rate double that of Newark Public School students and graduate college at a rate of more than three times that of Newark students who enroll in college.

To date, the senior class of 2024 has submitted 405 college applications. NJ Leep students have received 150 college acceptances, including the University of Pennsylvania, Northeastern, Rutgers, Montclair State University, Hamilton College, SUNY Albany, and more.

Volunteer Opportunities

NJ Leep offers several volunteer opportunities with events that support its students, such as career nights, to help students connect their college paths to careers. Volunteers can also help students refine their resumes, practice interview skills, learn how to pitch an idea and other professional and personal growth skills.

NJ Leeps seeks over 60 attorney mentors each year to help its students prepare for their Constitutional Law Debates.

NJ Leep also welcomes corporate partners to host field trips, micro internships for its Week on the Job program for 10th graders and internships for college students.

“Volunteering with NJ LEEP gives you the chance to impact our students and their trajectory, as well as witness the magic of NJ LEEP,” shared Tomljanovich.

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