Meet The Founders of LaunchPad
David and Rebecca Contreras have a passion to impact inner city Communities. The story of David & Rebecca is unique and parallel in many ways. Theirs is a story of the possibilities, hard work and triumph! David and Rebecca’s early start in life was plagued with growing up in a single parent home, poverty, pain, disappointment, and lack of basic emotional, spiritual and physical needs. They share a common thread of both growing up without fathers, without boundaries established in their childhood years and throughout their teens. After years of lacking love and discipline, coupled with many failures, bad personal choices and mistakes, their course was set before them with limited options, lack of opportunities and certain destined failure.
It all changed when they each started on their own separate journeys for personal transformations both in their faith journey and unwavering commitment to turn their life around. Over two decades ago, their paths collided when they met in a faith based inner city outreach program where they began to work with inner city kids, married two years later and began their amazing life journey together!
David and Rebecca have experienced personal and professional success in life. With a strong family, they have been married twenty-two years. Their path together has been a path of great lessons, inspiration and hope. After a long awaited vision and planning, they returned to Texas after serving in Washington DC to start their own Community outreach program. In March 2008 David and Rebecca Co Founded LaunchPad. David now runs the organization full-time and Rebecca volunteers her time serving on the LaunchPad Board.
According to the latest Austin Independent School District’s (AISD) data, seven out of the nine failing public schools are found on the East side of I-35. Texas ranks 15th in the Nation for teens leaving school without graduating from school. Among Hispanic minorities, we have a 44% drop out rate nationwide.
The City of Austin 2011 report card among disadvantaged students reported that:
– 25% are more likely to drop out of school
– 40% more likely to end up to become teen parent
– 60% more likely to never attend college or vocational training
– 70% more likely to commit a violent crime
Even though most of us will never personally experience these sobering factors with our own children, we simply cannot stand by and watch our young people in the inner city communities fail. This nationwide and local epidemic will have a social and economic impact on all of us. So rather than just being shocked and appalled at these alarming stats, David & Rebecca decided to be a part of the solution and address this issue head-on. Within the first year of founding LaunchPad, David began by implementing a pilot multi facet program at Dobie Middle School. LaunchPad is in it’s fourth school year and growing strong. Our LaunchPad team takes the critically important work, weekly to the urban asphalt jungle of the inner-city of Northeast Austin, a high-crime, impoverished community. According to the Austin Police index the area our team serves in has the highest aggravated assaults, theft, burglaries, gangs, rape and murder in the city. This is where our Launch Pad students live and go to school.
David and Rebecca are dedicated to empower, equip and make a difference in the lives of Youth. They hold firm to their belief that every child and young person has the potential to accomplish whatever they set their mind to do, no matter the obstacles or challenges they face.