The Clarksville Entrepreneur Center was originally founded in 2009 as the The LEAP Organization, a nonprofit youth development organization by Richard “Reason” Garrett. The concept of LEAP came from a vision that God gave the founder in his darkest hours consisting of mentoring at-risk youth that needed a second chance and someone to believe in them.Along the way God provided provision for the vision by strategically placing individuals in Reason’s life to bring it to fruition. Becky Moore of the United Way and Pastor Tommy Vallejos guided the founder in separating the nonprofit venture into its own entity which officially became the LEAP Organization and received it IRS 501(c)3 status on April 29, 2009.
Pastor Harris was also instrumental in opening the Emmanuel Family Life Center for the organization to operate. Since opening its doors, LEAP has forged strong partnerships with the local business community, media, school districts, and other youth–serving organizations in the community. In turn, Richard assisted in managing the facility and opening the doors for other start ups to have office space.
From our humble beginnings as a youth mentoring organization in 2008, we have evolved into a youth development organization that provides mentoring, counseling, career readiness, community service learning opportunities, and other enriching programs. The program targets at-risk youth referred from juvenile courts, DCS, school counselors, and concerned parents. It also serves youth that voluntarily enroll to participate in its various programs.
In 2013, Dave Davidson permitted LEAP to acquire a 24,000 square foot college campus and convert part of it into our youth development headquarters and other portions into a small business incubator/entrepreneurial center. We are seeking to cultivate the growth and development of small businesses through one-on-one support, mentoring, programs, and classes. We intend to offer office space, management and technical assistance to small businesses for up to five years through classes, programs, onsite mentoring, one-on-one business counseling and peer support.
In 2017, the organization continued to evolve. As more organizations began to provide youth development programs, LEAP saw an opportunity to focus its attention to support veterans and minority small business owners with obtaining the resources they needed to become successful entrepreneurs. The organization was renamed to the Clarksville Entrepreneur Center which is supported by RG Group, Inc.
Because of generous friends like you, LEAP has provided youth enrichment programs to over 1,000 students and been successful in testing 532 for controlled substance with 433 (81%) discontinuing use. We have also served 290 students with criminal/delinquent offenses and through intervention programs were able to keep 204 (70%) from committing additional offenses.
I am truly thankful for the Clarksville community rising to the occasion to volunteer as mentors and tutors to enable us to assist over 250 participants to graduate from high school. It is because of caring and compassionate individuals such as yourself that at least 130 of our graduates have enrolled in college with an additional 42 joining the military.
Support from our donors has enabled us to award 21 scholarships to high school seniors totaling over $15,000 so far.
If it wasn’t for community minded businesses committed to our Partners in Employment (PIE) Initiative with assistance in mock interviews, work place tours, internships, guest speaking and financial contributions, our career readiness program may not have been able to assist 82 young people to obtain employment.