About Us: Making New York Smarter

Learning Leaders work with students

Learning Leaders recruits, trains and supports nearly 15,000 school volunteers who work with over 235,000 New York City public school students in 967 schools. Under its prior name (the New York City School Volunteer Program), Learning Leaders was the first program of its kind in the country and has been a national leader in its field for almost five decades. Our goal is to help New York City public school students succeed by training volunteers to provide tutoring and other school-based support, and by equipping parents to foster their own children’s educational development.

Volunteers work with students in all grades from pre-K through high school in reading, English as a second language, math and other subjects. In the upper grades, they also prepare students for critical examinations and assist with college planning and financial aid. Other volunteers introduce art or share a love of books. Through individual and group tutoring, our volunteers help students experience success and develop confidence in their own abilities.

Learning Leaders’ experience, expertise, scope and cost-effectiveness enable us to make an essential contribution to the city and its children that no other group can provide. Further leveraging occurs when our 11,753 parent volunteers use their volunteer training and experience to teach their own children at home, pursue their own educational and career goals and move into leadership positions at their children’s schools.

In addition to parents, volunteers include business people helping to prepare a capable labor force, retirees with a lifetime of experience to share, college students exploring career paths and other concerned community members. Among our volunteers, 79% are parents, and more than 67% identify themselves as people of color.

Each volunteer gives at least two hours of service per week at a school near his/her home or workplace. All volunteers are screened, and receive training from our professional staff of field-based coordinators. Learning Leaders supplies books, learning games and other teaching materials to help volunteers and children work together successfully.Learning Leaders teaches kids to love learningLearning Leaders teaches kids to love learning

The program was founded in 1956 and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1970. The Learning Leaders budget is $5.8 million for the 2006-2007 school year. As a private, not-for-profit organization, Learning Leaders raises 85% of its funds from foundations, corporations and individuals. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Council.