A Message from the Director
Def. compassion  | kəmˈpaSHən | 
noun 
sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

A major part of my work for LEAP involves talking about need. Our women need housing. They need jobs. And bikes. And clothes. And phones. And health care. LEAP needs money. And donations for the store. And sponsors. The list of needs often seems endless and overwhelming.

However, the truth is that what the women of LEAP ultimately need is one thing. It is the one thing that we ALL need in our life. 

Compassion.  

With compassion, all else flows. It is the compassion of our community, donors, staff, volunteers and supporters that has allowed LEAP to serve women transitioning from prison for the past 10 years. It is compassion that inspires people to donate to the Dragonfly Thrift Boutique. It is the compassion of a family willing to rent their house to a group of women just out of prison that enables LEAP to provide them with shelter. It is compassion of people who donate to a local food bank that helps feed the women of LEAP during those first few stressful months post release.

With so much suffering — so many  needs  — it is easy to suffer from compassion fatigue. But, it’s there in all of us, even if sometimes our compassion is lying a bit dormant.

And, so, we at LEAP have officially declared August to be a month of Compassion. So that all of us might reignite, refresh, and rekindle our innate sense of compassion.

The first order of business during our month of compassion is to visit the Compassion Project at the Coral Gables Museum , a beautiful photo/essay/video exhibit featuring LEAP graduates, borne of the compassion of LEAP volunteer Starr Sariego and made possible through the compassion of our sponsors. If you have already visited the Compassion Project exhibit, please take a friend, so that they too can experience the sense of connection that comes with compassion.

The second order of business is to (now, this very minute, don’t wait) purchase your tickets to LEAP’s Second Chance Soiree   while the early bird pricing is still available. The Soiree will be an inspiring, uplifting and entertaining evening of songs and stories of compassion starring syndicated storyteller James Judd and local jazz divas Brenda Alford and Leesa Richardson

Finally, attend one or more of the following events (Full details at the bottom of newsletter):

Thursday, August 15, 2019
6:30PM to 8:00PM


Saturday, September 14, 2019
8:30AM to 2:15PM 


Friday September 20, 2019
6:30pm - 8:30pm


We at LEAP looks forward to celebrating our shared compassion!

With love and gratitude,

Mahlia
SAVE THE DATE!
The Second Chance Soiree celebrates LEAP's 10 years of service. It will an evening of songs, and stories of compassion starring nationally known comedic storyteller James Judd and local singing talents Brenda Alford and Leesa Richards . Pre-performance silent auction/cocktail hour and after party included with tickets purchase.

Don't miss this entertaining, uplifting and inspirational event.

Early bird pricing is available until August 15, and tickets can be purchased online HERE.

Please consider sponsorships and/or donating items for our silent auction. Contact Mahlia@LeapForLadies.org for further information.
Voluteer Spotlight
Larry Glick, a New York native, moved to Miami in 2008 to join the law firm of Shutts & Bowen as a partner in the Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy Department. His introduction to LEAP came when he attended a fundraiser at Shutts & Bowen, where a LEAP graduate spoke about the program, how it had changed her life and what she wanted to accomplish. After learning about LEAP’s success rate helping its graduates avoid a return to prison, Mr. Glick decided to get involved as a way to give back to the community. Using his experience in the fields of law and finance, he developed a single session educational program for LEAP on the topics of credit and debt management, which he has been presenting since 2017. He also mentors our ladies on their business plans. Larry’s goal is to help LEAP’s graduates overcome and avoid financial mistakes so they can succeed both personally and in their businesses.
 
For fun, Larry is teaching himself Español. He and his wife, Anita, enjoy traveling (especially to NY where they have three grown sons and one grandson so far), riding their bicycles and going to the movies.

Larry's law firm, Shutts & Bowen is a Platinum Sponsor of The Compassion Project in the Coral Gables Museum. Through the law firm’s Focus on Women Group and Diversity Committee, the attorneys at Shutts & Bowen seek to give back to the community by devoting time and financial resources to support LEAP’s mission. They are very proud to play a part in LEAP, supporting and changing the lives of so many women in such a positive way.

We at LEAP are grateful for all of their support. 
Welcome Home!
Julie  was released this past Saturday! On her way back home to Lakeland, she stopped by LEAP's Dragonfly Thrift Boutique to get a start on her post-prison wardrobe and to say goodbye to her LEAP sisters. After all of the tools she learned in the LEAP program, she is excited to pursue her business Sometimes Sally's Drag Queen Boutique. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
A Special Thank you to LEAP
My name is Rebecca McLemore and I would love to take a moment of your time to tell you how LEAP has impacted my life. I was released from prison on April 7th 2018. I started working at the Dragonfly Thrift Boutique 2 days after I was released. I have moved my way up and now am the Assistant Manager. Through the last 15 months the board members have helped me to become the woman I have always wanted to be. A woman with self respect and integrity. Each board member has played a key role.

This month I celebrate my 3rd year in recovery. I have so much gratitude, respect , and love for the this organization and all it stands for. I needed the support and love that was freely given to me. I honestly do not believe I would be where I am today without their love and support. There is no monetary amount that could that I could place on the value of this program. I just want to formally thank each and every one of you who have played your role in this new journey. I love you each one of you and thank you again.
Dragonfly Thrift Boutique
LEAP's Dragonfly Thrift Boutique is not your mother's thrift store.

What makes us different has everything to do with our staff. Store manager, Aelana, is an experienced stylist who made a name for herself styling and merchandising upscale shops around the world. She brings that experience to provide a curated, ultra clean and chic selection of merchandise. We have many regulars, and assistant manager, Rebecca (a LEAP grad!) and the rest of the staff (all LEAP grads!) know them all by name. For those new to the shop, the staff is quick with a friendly hello and explanation of how Dragonfly provides for a "virtuous" shopping experience (all proceeds support women transitioning from prison.)

In addition to being place to shop, the Dragonfly is the perfect place to host a get together for a group of friends or colleagues. We've had group breakfasts, cocktail hours, book clubs and even a knitting circle. This is an easy way to support LEAP (you can encourage your group to bring donations for the store) and, if they decide to shop after your event, we won't mind:)


REMEMBER Every Saturday is 25% off the entire store. But beware, some of our nicest items are gone before the weekend!


NEW SALE ALERT: Books are buy one, get one from August 7th - 15th!

Follow us on Instagram to keep up with our latest merchandise,
and be sure to take a photo and tag us when you come in.
DRAGONFLY THRIFT BOUTIQUE
Upcoming Events

Community Connection Book Club: Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle
Thursday, August 15, 2019
6:30PM to 8:00PM

To further celebrate our Month of Compassion, we have a wonderful compassion themed selection for our next book discussion. Tattoos on the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion.

How do you fight despair and learn to meet the world with a loving heart? How do you overcome shame? Stay faithful in spite of failure? No matter where people live or what their circumstances may be, everyone needs boundless, restorative love. Gorgeous and uplifting, author Gregory Boyle, amply demonstrates the impact unconditional love can have on your life.
Ethical and Practical Considerations for the Legal Profession 
Saturday, September 14, 2019
8:30AM to 2:15PM 

This intermediate workshop will include talks by Judge Steve Leifman and Honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle, and will help legal professionals to address ethical and practical considerations in a changing world. By better understanding the role of health and illness in American society, this workshop will shed light on health, mental illness, substance abuse and dependence disorders to allow lawyers to advance professional behaviors and advance professional responsibility. Florida Bar approval pending for five continuing legal education professional responsibility credits. Call or email Laurie at 833-757-5327 or Laurie@LeapForLadies.org if interested.
Healing the Hurt: Expanding the Conversation of the Art of Compassion
Friday September 20, 2019
6:30pm - 8:30pm

Join FIU Stemphil College of Public Health and Social Work, Panel Moderator Shed Boren, PhD; AMP Group Mental Health Services Adrian Mesa, DNP; LEAP Prison Instructor, Dale Quaint; Director of Stop Parentin Alone, Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA, LMFT, Director; and some of our special LEAP Ladies for a night of photographs, complemented by each subjects’ powerful testimonies. While each image captures a commanding story about facing obstacles, surviving challenges, and seeking moments of grace, the underlying theme is that of overcoming trauma. This panel discussion will focus on how exposure to multiple or prolonged traumatic events impacted the lives of these women, and how they are working to seek peace, refuge, and recovery.
The Compassion Project
The Compassion Project is a photography project which aims to upend the preconceptions our society has about incarcerated women. Who are they? How did they become incarcerated? Who and what have they left behind? What is possible for them now?

The show features LEAP graduates, and debuted at the Coral Gables Museum June 7, 2019 to a full house and rave reviews. Be sure to visit and check out our calendar for a list of special Compassion Project related events at the Coral Gables Museum. Also, check out this interview about the project of LEAP volunteer and project curator, Starr Sariego.

The show features an audio component which provides a more intimate experience of the narratives, which you can experience with the free APP called The Compassion Project Miami .

If you are as moved by the Compassion Project as we think that you will be, please consider donating at the kiosk, which is located in the exhibit gallery.

Volunteer With LEAP
Volunteer Information Nights are held the second Thursday of every month! Join us to learn more about LEAP and how you can volunteer to help out the ladies of LEAP.

The next Volunteer and Ambassador Information Night will be held on Thursday, August 8 @ 6:00 PM
Engage With Us on Social Media
LADIES EMPOWERMENT AND ACTION PROGRAM
DRAGONFLY THRIFT BOUTIQUE
Thank-you to Our Generous Supporters!
Over the past 10 years working with women in prison, we at LEAP have learned that if given tools to succeed, most will remain crime free.

Thanks to the support of our community, over the past 2 years LEAP has expanded from an in-prison program, to one that includes transitional housing, employment and other support post release.

We are proud to announce that the Denise Moon Fund of the Miami Foundation, Capital One Bank and the Miami Foundation Community Grants Program recently awarded LEAP grants that we are able to continue to empower women transitioning from prison.

LEAP is 100% dependent on the generosity of our community. Please consider donating today.
Ladies Empowerment and Action Program | Dragonfly Thrift Boutique | (833) 757 - 5327 | info@leapforladies.org | www.leapforladies.org