The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce joined Jennifer Gauthier, Founder and Executive Director of Lead4Life on her official ribbon cutting for the Salisbury office.
Headquartered in Rockville, MD, Lead4Life, Inc. opened its doors in Salisbury last year. Its story began in 2008, after Jennifer, or “Ms. Jen” as she is known by participants and their families, had dedicated countless hours working with multiple non-profits and decided that she wanted to start one of her own. As a child, Jennifer overcame the challenges of domestic violence and teen pregnancy, and as an adult she turned homelessness into financial independence—so she understood the fundamental need of empathy and compassion.
Gauthier welcomed the group and shared: “Because of my life experiences is why I started Lead4Life. When I started the organization, I realized that both myself and my son needed a mentor, but because we were not involved in child welfare, we didn’t have the village to help us. We started in Rockville, and we have been blessed with our growth and now have offices in Baltimore, Frederick, Salisbury, Prince Georges County and Glen Burnie (opening Dec 1st). We are serving participants that need help and are underserved, but when I say we are the village, I really mean it. I have hired a lot of people that have life experiences and are hungry to learn and grow because they will be able to better identify with our participants. I also believe they should be compensated as well as someone with a degree. We pay all our mentors; we are getting the same people that have been through the system and made it out and are doing well to give back to our kids. We continue to strive and be the best we can be, and I know we can be that village with the support of our community partnerships. We really hope to be a household name here on the Lower Shore.”
Lead4Life, Inc. was founded in an effort to reduce the number of youth and young adults entering the juvenile justice system, as well as many out-of-home placements, and the youth recidivism rate in our surrounding communities. Our programs are developed utilizing restorative justice, strength-based models, trauma-informed approaches, client-centered practices, and community service initiatives. Together, we are the village making a difference. Anyone can become involved with Lead4Life by becoming a volunteer, donating to Lead4Life or becoming a sponsor/partner.
Lead4Life programs include: Individual and Family Therapy, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program, Re-Engagement Initiative, Juvenile Entry Diversion Initiative, First Chance 4U, Evening Report Center, Victim Awareness, Parent Mentoring Initiative, Mentoring Initiative, and Navigation Services.