L.E.A.D. Center for Youth

History: C.J. Stewart, former Chicago cubs outfielder and Atlanta native, started L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct) in 2007 along with his wife, Kelli. His goal was to empower Black boys living in the city of Atlanta. Washington High school was initially L.E.A.D.’s home base until the nonprofit opened a 5,500-square-foot training and development facility in 2020 called the L.E.A.D. Center For Youth.

Did you know: Each year, L.E.A.D. serves about 250 youth who are living in poverty? Young boys and men participate in L.E.A.D.’s Sports Based Youth Development (SBYD) program, where they have access to free year-round programming and to training in the indoor baseball facility. These youngsters also learn how to develop healthy relationships, receive academic support, learn job interview skills, and develop other developmental skills that lead to a productive future.

Mission: L.E.A.D.’s mission is to empower an at-risk generation to lead and transform the city of Atlanta by using baseball to teach Black boys how to overcome crime, poverty and racism.

How you can help: Take a tour of L.E.A.D.’s state-of-the-art facility to learn first-hand how L.E.A.D. is guiding today’s inner-city youth, including assisting alumni with finding internships and jobs (email Kelli at kelli.stewart@leadcenterforyouth.org). Your financial support and donations of fresh fruit and healthy snacks for the seven-week summer program are always welcome.

To learn more: Visit leadcenterforyouth.org or call/text 404-662-2538.