Girls’ LEAP’s mission is to empower girls and young women to value and champion their own safety and well-being.
Girls’ LEAP (Lifetime Empowerment & Awareness Program) is the premier girls' empowerment organization in Greater Boston. We provide self-defense and empowerment programs to girls aged 8-18 in every neighborhood in Boston and in Greater Boston.
Girls’ LEAP deliver programs by partnering with schools and community agencies in the Greater Boston area to reach girls in their own neighborhoods. We deliver programs by partnering with community organizations and schools. Our programs incorporate unique physical self-defense activities and socio-emotional learning to teach skills that encourage conflict resolution, violence de-escalation and self-confidence. By validating girls’ experiences and feelings about violence, LEAP helps girls to build self-esteem and confidence. Our programs can be offered in a variety of formats to fit the needs of our partner agencies.
Girls’ LEAP began as a community response to a wave of sexual assaults against women and girls in Cambridge in 1995. LEAP was co-founded by Deborah Weaver, faculty member in the Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics at Wellesley College and Peggy Barrett, Education Director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and former Director of the Women’s Center at Tufts University, both Cambridge residents at the time. Discovering that girls ages 10-14 were most at risk for sexual assault and exploitation, and that there was no programming available to teach young girls how to protect themselves, the two women founded Girls’ LEAP.
After extensive research into the types of programs that worked and why, the curriculum for Girls’ LEAP was carefully constructed to include role playing and intergenerational teaching teams and self-directed scenarios. Girls’ LEAP delivered its first programs in 1997 and incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit in 2000.