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Leaders for Ethics, Animals, and the Planet

Founded by three non-profit animal sanctuaries in Northern California – Jameson Humane, Blackberry Creek, and Rancho Compasión –  LEAP (Leaders for Ethics, Animals, and the Planet) is the first-of-its-kind humane education program to reach high school students as a compassionate alternative to traditional agricultural programs like 4H and FFA.

Providing in-depth monthly curriculum, hands-on workshops at sanctuaries, and positive leadership training, LEAP will prepare the leaders of tomorrow to transform the food industry, advocate for animal welfare and human rights, tackle the challenges of food deserts and food insecurity, and lead the way in climate solutions. 

LEAP is currently up and running at six Northern California sanctuaries, and we are thrilled to announce that it is becoming its own non-profit in Spring of 2023 in order to be able to reach youth across the country! LEAP is proud to partner with Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for non-profit formation.

Founding donors are needed to support curriculum development, staffing, educational materials, and scholarships at each of the six participating sanctuaries. LEAP has just been offered a $150k matching opportunity, so your contribution to this program will be DOUBLED! Donations to fund the program can be made through our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, Rancho Compasión HERE.

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LEAP students and leaders at Jameson Humane with Obi the pig.
LEAPer Lucy helping with a Halloween community event at Rancho Compasión

Learn About LEAP’s Future Plans

Click on the PDF below to view our strategic plan to give students across the country access to the LEAP program.

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What is the LEAP Program?

Leaders for Ethics, Animals, and the Planet (LEAP) provides education and training for high school students in the areas of:

  • hands-on, compassionate animal care
  • food and agricultural systems
  • leadership development
  • wildlife and habitat conservation
  • farmed animal welfare
  • human health supported by a vegan diet
  • the intersection of human and animal rights
  • climate change solutions
  • social emotional learning
  • ocean conservation
  • food deserts and food insecurity 
  • domestic animal care and community outreach
      From September through May for approximately 10 hours per month, students and their peers will meet at a local animal sanctuary to care for rescued animals, assist with infrastructure projects, and participate in a humane education curriculum, all culminating in a community-based project related to the rescued animals!

Scholarship Opportunities


At the end of the student’s completed year with LEAP, they will have the ability to apply for competitive scholarships of $500 or $1000 to go toward college or career training. We offer these scholarships to encourage initiative, leadership, hard work, and believe it is imperative that we show students they can earn money for education by HELPING animals rather than exploiting them for money by selling them for slaughter like in traditional agricultural programs.

Our LEAP Curriculum Overview


Students will gather with their local LEAP chapter for monthly classroom lessons and will learn from experts in various animal and environmentally related fields. Each year of the program, we will focus on certain topics, such as the ethics of eating, climate change and eco anxiety, farmed animal welfare, and the challenges and solutions related to these topics.


Students attend hands-on workshops at local sanctuaries or other participating organizations to participate in activities such as animal care, rewilding projects, habitat clean-up, veterinary demonstrations, community gardening, vegan cooking classes, and more.


LEAPers participate in service hours each month ranging from assisting with sanctuary tours and events, helping with public outreach and education, serving at community wellness clinics, cleaning habitats and caring for animals, assisting with local rewilding projects and wildlife habitat clean-up,  gardening, and helping with other projects of interest to them at their local sanctuary or in their communities.

What sets LEAP apart from other agricultural scholarship programs?

LEAPers will have many of the same opportunities that other agriculture programs offer – working with other LEAPers from around the region, participating in local events, learning from experts and mentors, receiving financial compensation for their work, and, of course, spending time with the animals–but without the financial and emotional burden of raising and showing a slaughter-bound animal. 

What makes a great LEAPer?

  • Candidates for the LEAP program understand the social responsibility they have as the next generation of leaders, and want to make a difference in their communities. They are ready and eager for leadership training and have a desire to change the current system for animals, human health, and the planet.


  • They are students who are already enrolled in or interested in joining an agricultural learning program but do not feel that the primary offerings are right for them or aligned with their values. 


  • They are interested in the outdoors, physical learning, community involvement, connecting with animals, healthy eating, human and animal rights, food systems, and caring for our environment.

Why consider LEAP for your student?

  • With a diverse array of learning methods–such as construction projects, basic veterinary care, and public outreach–students will become adept at:

public interface & networking

group leadership & personal leadership: leading by example, and leading a life aligned with their ethics
problem solving
practical hands-on skills, whether on the ranch or in the office
social-emotional learning and empathy
  • Commitment to the animal sanctuary residents, rain or shine, teaches patience, dependability, and resilience.


  • Students will be rewarded with a certificate of completion, letters of recommendation, and be connected with a vast network of nonprofits and mentors.


  • Students also have the opportunity to apply for competitive scholarships of $500 or $1000 each year they participate in LEAP to be used for college or career training. 

Families will not be required to pay for expensive feed, animal husbandry equipment, medical costs, and other financial burdens associated with traditional animal ag programs.

Most importantly, LEAP encourages students that empathy for others is a strength, not a weakness. With humanity at a major crossroads, there’s no better time for our youth to leap forward into a more compassionate and forward-thinking society.

We feel that there is no better time to introduce a program such as this.

As humanity enters a dangerous threshold for our viability on this planet, LEAP asks young leaders to critically examine the systems and traditions that have led to this point. We hope you are excited to share this rigorous yet rewarding program with your students.

LEAP provides students with hands-on farmed and domestic animal care experience, humane education, and the opportunity to earn a scholarship by volunteering at participating animal sanctuaries.

Timeline 2023-2024 

August 7, 2023:  Application submissions begin
September 1, 2023:  Application deadline at midnight
September 8, 2023 – May 26, 2024:  Duration of LEAP Program

Requirements to Apply

  • Participants must be vaccinated against COVID-19, and boosted if eligible
  • Must have reliable transportation to a participating chapter
  • Must be available to meet monthly time commitments (see application for varying sanctuary dates/times)
  • Must be able to walk and stand for extended periods of time and lift 40+ lbs

Participating Sanctuaries for 2022-2023

Student with cow at Jameson Humane Sanctuary

Marin County


Napa County


Solano County


Sonoma County

Rancho Compasión



Charlie's Acres

- sonoma -


Jameson Humane

- NAPA -

Please download the Jameson Humane PDFs and email them to:


- sonoma -

Blackberry Creek



Herd and Flock

- solano -

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Media Contact

Maral Papakhian
(415) 845-7205