This year, Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance held its annual luncheon to raise funds for our children's education, then put on a breakfast to send them back to school.
At the LEAP Mardi Gras luncheon in February, members presented $75,000 to Operation Breakthrough. The funds were given by area lawyers, judges, law firms and associations to help sustain our library and literacy programming and provide educational supplies, field trips, tutoring and other learning opportunities.
In August, LEAP members gathered again, this time on our playground, to help our children celebrate the start of the school year. Pancakes flipped through the air, while Judge Thomas Newton and attorney Jim Bartimus passed out sausages and juice. Other lawyers and judges helped children fill backpacks with the pencils and notebooks they need to succeed.
After breakfast, Missouri Supreme Court Justice Laura Stith handed out bookmarks and spoke to the children about the joy of reading. LEAP officers Laura Tyler and Paul Redfearn presented another check, this one $5,000, for school uniforms.
"It's so good for our children to meet these lawyers and see how much they care," says Sister Berta. "LEAP tells them, 'Stay in school. Do your best, and we'll be here to help along the way.'"