Since the founding of Lincoln Park Preschool almost 25 years ago, owner and founder Sharon Kozek has placed a high value on providing life-changing experiences for her exceptional staff. The impact of a unique work perk she created at LPP has been both personal and global.
LPP’s Vacation with a Purpose program has been a dream come true for staff seeking opportunities to travel abroad and reach children in need around the world. LPP teachers have ventured to over a dozen locations, including Ecuador, Mexico, Zambia and Thailand. While abroad, teachers are given paid time off and a travel stipend to do impact work with children and women in adverse circumstances.
In addition to teacher-selected locations that go through an approval process, LPP sends a group of teachers to Ndola, Zambia to visit Hope Community School. At Hope teachers connect with students and staff as they participate in the classrooms, take cultural excursions to learn Zambian history, and lead activities as part of Hope’s reading partner program.
“My time at Hope Community School was nothing short of life-changing. The staff and students exude kindness, gratitude and warmth.. and the culture is open and giving.I hope to go back one day!” said LPP teacher, David Feldman.
In October of 2018, LPP was inducted into Chicago-based- non-profit, Spark Ventures’ Founder’s Circle, for their continued partnership in funding and guiding projects that directly impact quality of life and education for over 350 students in Zambia. LPP has spearheaded two major projects over the last two years with Spark; the opening of Hope’s first preschool classrooms, and the construction of Hope’s first library.
Kindergarten Teacher, Valerie Pokladowski has traveled twice with the Vacation with a Purpose program LPP offers. This fall, she returned to Pattaya, Thailand with Not Abandoned, a non-profit organization that works to end sex trafficking. “We offer these women resources and a way out of a life they are trapped in through debt, family obligation, and lack of education,”
LPP Director, Laura Garland traveled to Zambia on LPP’s inaugural trip in January of 2017. Garland feels the vision of Vacation with a Purpose is a reflection of LPP’s mission, “Our aim is to put our hearts, minds and hands together as we work towards a brighter future for all children, both those inside our classrooms and those on the other side of the world,”
For more information about LPP and their global impact, visit: lppschools.com/philanthropy