Dear Friend,

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

For more than 18 years, LEAD has prepared youth for success by providing life skills and exposure to new opportunities. Each year, we serve hundreds of middle school students from over 30 of Houston’s most under-resourced neighborhoods. A zip code should not determine a child’s future. 

LEAD’s Board of Directors and I would be delighted for you to join in the fun and celebrate our work and mission. We need your help supporting our Mardi Gras Masquerade on Fat Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at The Astorian.

It is our pleasure to honor Dr. Bradley H. Smith, Professor of Psychological Health and Learning Sciences at the University of Houston, this year. Dr. Smith has been an integral part of our work over the past five years. He helped LEAD scale and become an evidence based youth development program.

LEAD works! We serve more than 300 youth weekly in their classrooms. Engaging our student LEADers in community service, extended learning, and overnight summer camps improves their well-being and sense of belonging. Our program changes a child’s trajectory. A student LEADer shared, “LEAD changed me. I actually thought about dropping out of school, but now I hope to go to college. I appreciate more about our world.” 

Our transformational work is possible because of you! Generous sponsors sustain LEAD’s mission and make a positive impact in the community.


Dejon Banks Hawthorne
Executive Director

Board of Directors  
Parker Atherton Tonia Jones
O.P. Banks II Martha Kirkwood
Carvana Cloud Adam Lyons
Jesus De La Cerda Milton Morris
David de Roode Knox Nunnally
Jeff French Iris Tian
Carter Higley Amaka Unaka