A four-year success program for low-income and first-generation high school and college students, the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project (NJLEEP) helps students in the greater Newark area find a path to college. The organization plans to launch a new program for middle-school students this summer.
NJLEEP works in conjunction with more than 50 corporate partners, pairing lawyer mentors with students. Mentors remain with the same student from sophomore to senior year to assist them in law-related assignments and activities.
McCarter partner Matthew Wapner has been a mentor with NJLEEP for 12 years, and stated that the program “extends beyond homework.”
“We also meet for lunch, which lends to guidance we give them on school and life issues, and in many cases, where warranted, we write letters of recommendations for them to send to colleges,” Matthew said. “But the lifelong bond survives long after their sophomore year. For example, one of the kids I worked with is now in graduate school, and I recently took him to a pro football game.”