August 4, 2010

Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance (LEAP) will help children at Operation Breakthrough leap into the new school year. LEAP is providing gift certificates for school uniforms, and book bags, school supplies and breakfast by Chris Cakes, a pancake-flipping favorite in the metropolitan area. The Back to School Breakfast is Friday, August 6 from 7:30 am to 9:00 am at Operation Breakthrough, 3039 Troost, Kansas City, Missouri. The media is invited to attend. Weather permitting, the event will be held outside on the east patio of Operation Breakthrough. Access can be gained by going to the rear of Operation Breakthrough from Troost on 30th Street to Forest. Parking is available in the church parking lot across the street.

The timing of the Back to School Breakfast is a win-win for families who will receive the gift certificates for uniforms on Friday August 6, the kick-off of the Tax Free Weekend in Missouri, August 6-8. More than 400 children from Operation Breakthrough are expected to attend the Back to School Breakfast, and lawyers and judges from around the metro will help the children pack their school supplies.

“When the economy got tough, our mothers were the first to be let go,” said Sister Berta Sailor, co-founder of Operation Breakthrough, a nonprofit that assists low income families in the metro. “Families used to be able to shop at thrift stores for used clothing. Because the district requires uniforms, it’s an additional burden for these families. The children will greatly benefit from these contributions.”

Members of the media are invited to photograph Operation Breakthrough and to conduct interviews of leaders of it and of the LEAP Initiative prior to and the morning of the Back to School Breakfast.

Interview opportunities include:

• Co-Founders Operation Breakthrough Sister Berta Sailor and Sister Corita Bussanmas
• Missouri Supreme Court Justice Laura Denvir Stith, a LEAP co-founder and volunteer
• LEAP President Laura Tyler
• LEAP Vice-Co Chair of Back to School Initiative Lisa Gentleman, Office of County Counselor
• LEAP Vice-Co Chair Back to School Initiative Jack Kilroy, Jr., Vice Chair Polsinelli Shughart PC

“We would like to thank the legal community for the generous donations they made throughout the summer,” said Kilroy. “Managing Partners from various law firms helped spearhead the effort and enabled LEAP to continue its mission to serve the children of Operation Breakthrough. It’s a good feeling to know we are helping these children begin the school year prepared and ready to do their best.”

Missouri Supreme Court Justice Laura Denvir Stith will provide children with bookmarks and speak with them about what a difference a strong ability to read can make in their lives. All school age children participate in Accelerated Reader programming which includes DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) time for 30 minutes.

“The extra help the children get with reading here at Operation Breakthrough will help them to do better in school, and make a good job and even college much more likely. And, just as importantly, it may inspire a passion for reading that will open up their minds to the endless possibilities that life offers,” said Judge Stith. “If you can read, you can succeed.”

For information contact Heather McMichael, 816-223-8780,

About LEAP

The event is an initiative of The Foundation for Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance (LEAP), a unique, joint professional effort comprised of the Asian American Bar Association; the Association of Corporate Counsel, Mid-America Chapter; the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City; the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association; the Hispanic Bar Association; the Jackson County Bar Association; the KC Legal Bar Association; the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association; the Lawyers Association of Kansas City; the Young Lawyers Section of the KCMBA, and the Young Lawyers Section of the Lawyers Association.

For 15 years LEAP has supported Operation Breakthrough with proceeds raised by its annual fundraising campaign celebrated at the LEAP Mardi Gras Luncheon held annually at the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association on Fat Tuesday. To date $870,000 has been donated to help the children at Operation Breakthrough develop to their fullest potential providing them a safe, loving and educational environment.