Empowering the youth is crucial to having a bright future, and REAP is ensuring that everyone gets their fair chance of gaining the leadership training they need to excel in whatever and whoever they choose to be. Founded in 2001, the nonprofit organization is on a mission to ignite, elevate, and engage youth worldwide by exposing them to new people and possibilities, enriching their perspective by broadening their horizons, and shaping them to be well-rounded members of their communities.
REAP is a year-round multicultural youth leadership program that aims to empower and raise the next wave of leaders that will shape the world. The program was established to build and elevate communities by working with students in grades 3rd through 12th, especially those coming from marginalized student populations. REAP carries out its mission through civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and cooperative management for them to hone a better future. Over the years, the program has equipped more than 1000 students every year and has been playing an active role in seeing that the youth reaches their maximum potential through innovative methods of instilling leadership.
In its recent transition to the virtual setting, REAP focused on maximizing the strengths of its ideologies and adapting to the virtual world without compromising or leaving any detail to chance. REAP has relied on donations to carry out its initiatives for students to nurture their leadership potential, and it continued to do so when it pivoted its programs to the virtual space. Although the leap has been costly, REAP did its best to ensure that the program still delivers nothing but the best for its students.
“Donations play an integral role in helping us to maintain, develop, and strengthen the quality of our online offerings,” shared Charity Brown of REAP.
In addition, REAP aims to maintain the traction it has garnered among communities and further expand its reach now that they have engaged with the digital space. The program has served students across multiple locations, and the chances of it doing more now with the virtual setting carries a high possibility. Virtual leadership programs have been proven as effective as physically executed programs, and REAP is justifying the idea further as it teaches students to elevate their voices, empower youth leaders with a global mindset, expand their innovation towards entrepreneurship, and engage them in cooperative management.
“Finding purpose and intention is challenging when you’re uninspired,” shared Charity Brown, when asked why empowerment should be coupled with inspiring students to push themselves beyond their self-imposed boundaries. “However, purpose and intention can be significant driving factors that propel students to success, making it vital to launch the next wave of leaders.”
The global pandemic has greatly contributed to REAP’s decision to switch to virtual modes of learning after seeing how it heightened racism, poverty, inequity, and social justice.
“There’s so much work to be done, and much of it, moving forward,” said Charity Brown.
REAP highlights that everyone can make a difference and contribute to global developments once equipped with the right tools and leadership mindset.
Over the next five years, REAP aims to implement a nationwide leadership program across schools and a range of students through a comprehensive online leadership academy. The organization also targets to help disadvantaged youth across the globe, specifically in Africa, India, and the Middle East.