Alumni Association

Join The LeaderShop’s Alumni Association and continue the friendships, service and connection to the organization that helped you become the adult you are today!

Friday, Oct 20: Haunted Manor Reunion 2017

For details, click below. Questions: Cathy Pierson (708) 579-5898.

For former Haunted Manor volunteer crew members and fans! Join staff from CEP/The LeaderShop for our first-ever Haunted Manor Reunion!

Please join us for one or both parts of this fun occasion, both happening on Friday, October 20:

Tour of Hell’s Gate Haunted House (Lockport)

$20 admission. 6:00 PM: Meet at The LeaderShop to drive together (see details below video),
to be followed by:

8:30 PM: Reunion Party at The Spot on 66 in Countryside (for ages 21+)

Watch this preview of Hell’s Gate Haunted House:

For the trip to/from haunted house: Only one van from The LeaderShop will go to Lockport. If you want to ride in the van, please call or email Cathy Pierson to reserve your seat. Hell’s Gate is at 3101 Canal Street in Lockport.

The van will return directly to The LeaderShop, so that under-21 participants can leave from there. Those going to the party at Spot on 66 (age 21+) will take their own cars (there will be no van to the party).

Our Latest High School Survey Brings Back Memories

Do you remember what it felt like to be a part of The LeaderShop/CEP? Over the years the same words are used to describe the experience. Words like “confident”, “part of a family”, “a leader”, and “making a difference” are common threads dating back to the 1980’s through today.

Below is a sampling of the results of our most recent high school survey. I hope these responses bring back great memories of the time you spent with us as a teen and remind you just how much The LeaderShop/CEP truly does change lives.

What do you like best about The LeaderShop?

  • “Being able to communicate with my peers in an environment where we help our community.”
  • “What I like about The LeaderShop is the diversity.”
  • “We can all come together and be one be happy family.”
  • “The different programs and opportunities we are given. There’s lots to do, and whenever you feel like helping someone in need, dancing or acting, talking about societal issues, or just hanging out and playing flag tag with people of all ages The LeaderShop is always open and positive to everyone.”
  • “What I like most about The LeaderShop is how safe it feels when I’m there. I know I can relax and be myself and not get judged for it.”

How does being a part of The LeaderShop make you feel?

  • “Being a part of The LeaderShop make me feel more confident and overall makes me feel like a better person.”
  • “Being a part of The LeaderShop makes me feel as if I’m making a difference. When I perform or do volunteer events seeing the reactions on people’s faces is priceless.”
  • “More confident in myself because I know that becoming a leader takes hard work and dedication and building that through the different programs give me motivation and a belief in myself to make a difference.”
  • “Complete.”
  • “It makes me feel happy.”
  • “I love it! I feel so accepted and loved. No matter how bad my day has been I can come to The LeaderShop and feel better instantly.”
  • “Good about myself.”
  • “It makes me feel part of a close-knit family/community.”
  • “Being a part of The LeaderShop has made me feel like I have a voice and I can use it.”

TLS/CEP Alumni Answer Our Service Challenge

On Saturday, April 29, The LeaderShop held its annual Day of Service. Children, teens and adults had the opportunity to volunteer at eight different locations throughout the community. After volunteering in the morning, everyone gathered at The LeaderShop for lunch and group games.

LeaderShop/CEP alumnus Mike McNicholas spent the morning along the banks of Salt Creek. He and other members of the work crew filled several large garbage bags with litter that that had been dropped along the creek. Mike’s positive energy and attitude helped keep the group motivated as they worked.

After returning to the office, Mike purchased $100 worth of goodies sponsored by our High School Leadership Program to help fund its upcoming service trip to Ferguson, MO, just outside of St. Louis. Mike delighted other participants at the Day of Service by sharing the baked treats with them.

Heather Leininger, another TLS/CEP alum, shared her artistic talents by face painting at the Summit Library’s Health Fair in the morning and then continued to face-paint The LeaderShop volunteers in the afternoon at the picnic.

Throughout the afternoon, Heather consistently had a group of teens hanging out with her at the face painting table. They learned new skills as they observed her painting styles and Heather shared her thoughts about life and how we can all make a difference.

Almost everyone at the picnic received a sample of Heather’s exceptional artistic gift.

✉ Please e-mail us the at to let us know where and how many hours you volunteered last month.
❤ Thank you!

The mission of The LeaderShop Alumni Association is to establish and maintain a connection among alumni of The LeaderShop, allowing further support and a growing network of past participants. The Alumni Association aims to reconnect past participants of The LeaderShop, previously CEP, with each other and current programs. Click “Update Your Information” (in column at right) to reconnect with The LeaderShop! If you would like to get involved with helping run the Alumni Association, please contact us at

Alumni Memories: Haunted Manor

“Ed Rice convinced me to come with him to help build some haunted house. Little did I know, this would be my favorite part of high school and the reason I majored in theatre and became a teacher. On our first day, Jim Upchurch (who I happened to think was cute … I was boy crazy), asked for volunteers to pick cattails for the swamp room. Ed, Kim Bloom, and I eagerly volunteered. Along with Jim’s little brother (“pop ‘n’ fresh”), we went to a remote place to pick these cattails. When it was time to leave, Jim realized his truck was stuck. This was 1996, so no one had cell phones and we didn’t realize there was a hotel nearby where we could have called for a ride.

“So we sat there for about six hours until Jim got the truck free. By the time we got back to the Haunted Manor location on Burlington Ave, it was late. Apparently, my dad had been waiting for hours at Haunted Manor for us. We were in so much trouble, and I was hooked. I can’t imagine my life with having the experience of CEP’s Haunted Manor! I am so grateful for the volunteer opportunity.”

—Anna Louise Jakubka