LEAF International is connecting global youth to THEIR cultural traditions.
342 global youth are currently in LI music programs.
8 Countries • 9 Programs • 20 Teaching artists • 5 Schools
2 Orphanages • 2 Cultural Centers
1035+ youth have participated in LI programs since 2006.
LEAF International empowers youth globally through THEIR cultural musical traditions to enhance self-esteem, educate, and to create skills, connections, and community. LEAF collaborates to create programs with their LOCAL teaching artists, instruments, and costumes. LEAF believes MUSIC & ARTS are powerful tools for children’s self-esteem, healing, learning skills, positive development, hope, skills, and creating a healthy happier community. Experiencing art, music and cultures transforms us as individuals and as a global community.LEAF International partners with organizations such as schools and orphanages, and works together to start a traditional music program. LEAF connects to local teaching artists, purchases local instruments and costumes, and provides support for the programs to be developed. The programs are low cost, high impact and designed to be THEIR programs. When LEAF partners with a community, we are dedicated to being a longterm supporter and partner. The results have been extraordinary, life changing and community shaping.
What was the inspiration for LEAF International?
The LEAF Arts Education Outreach Programs of LEAF International [LI] and LEAF Schools & Streets [LSS] both grew out of seeing a “gap” and a “need.” Global Cultures have always been one of my passions. Since I started LEAF, I have learned that music and dance are the most powerful vehicles to keeping culture alive and connecting people. While traveling, I started to dream of a way to be able to connect deeper with the “locals” while “giving back.” While in Bequia, I inquired how many kids on the island were learning the local STEEL PAN tradition....only ONE! At the local school, I asked them if I secured instruments and a local teacher would they host a program...of course! LI was on its way. Now over 70 kids on the island have learned how to play pan.
LEAF was one of only two national festivals asked to present to the NEA council in response to their “Outdoor Festival Study.” Most organization create one to nine outreach programs annually. LEAF through LI and LSS create 60 annual ARTS EDUCATION programs yearly! LEAF is a small festival with a big vision and outreach. All gifts, donations and earnings are maximized to make a 100% direct positive difference!
The vision for both LSS and LI continues to be: community collaborations, that are low cost, high impact, LOCAL, and sustainable. We are all stronger together, and MUSIC and ARTS helps bring so much positive life to our communities!
-Jennifer Pickering, LEAF Executive Director & Founder