Who We Are

Our Mission

We believe in socially responsible creative transformation, by generating a society of interdependent and empowered members that become critical collaborators within their communities.

Our History

The Leadership and Literacy Foundation operated for several years through Little Sprouts Child Enrichments Center and became an official separate organization in June of 2000. The foundation evolved from the visions of Susan Leger-Ferraro, the Chief Executive Officer of Little Sprouts, who desired to improve literacy, communication, and leadership skills in the community. The Leadership and Literacy Foundation operates as a separate, non-profit entity from Little Sprouts but both “sister” companies continued to work closely together to co-sponsor key events and make learning a civic priority. In 2008, The Leadership and Literacy Foundation changed its name to Inspirational Ones.

  • Late 1970s- 1981

    Late 1970s-1981

    In 6th grade, Susan Leger discovers her love for children and begins her career in childcare as a babysitter. Susan enrolls in her high school's early childhood education program and spends her summers as an intern at a local childcare center.

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    Susan, only 17, received a waiver that allows her to operate a licensed childcare center before she turns 18. She attends college at night, rents a duplex, and opens a childcare center licensed for six children. In 1983, at just 19 years old, Susan purchases a house and opens Susan's Playpen in the new location, increasing its license to 15 children.

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    Little Sprouts is officially formed and has 37 children and 14 employees, including current Little Sprouts Administrators Danielle Dirsa Sharpe and Alison Bouchard. 

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    To help Little Sprouts continue growing, Susan negotiates for office park space and is awarded a $110,000 load from the Massachusetts Development Fund. She also obtains corporate sponsorships of $40,000 from Nynex and $75,000 from AT&T.

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    Little Sprouts continues to grow. With financial support from the Massachusetts Development Fund loan and corporate sponsorships. Susan opens the Methuen Little Sprouts Child Enrichment Center. In 1995, Susan opens the Lowell Cross Point Little Sprouts after competing against several other competitors for the sought-after location. The Cross Point Towers management chose Little Sprouts because of its personalized approach.

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    Susan becomes a certified trainer of Franklin Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People® and brings these skills to her employees. Susan also chooses the High/Scope curriculum for all Little Sprouts centers.

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    A big year. The 3rd Little Sprouts center opens to serve the Andover and Lawrence communities. Later that year, the 4th Little Sprouts center opens at the Lowell General Hospital serving 96 children. In September, the Methuen Little Sprouts opens a full-time school age program, offering after school and before school programming, as well as programming on vacation days and snow days. 

    Little Sprouts is awarded a $200,000 Workforce Training Grant to train Little Sprouts staff members in High/Scope and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®. Susan later becomes certified in What Matters Most, Building Trust, The Student Achievement Workshop, and many other leadership workshops. The Workforce Training Grant helps Susan lay the groundwork for what will become the Leadership and Literacy Foundation.

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    Susan and several staff members visit High/Scope in Ypsilanti, MI to become more familiarized with High/Scope's educational curriculum and programs.

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    Susan formalizes the training program for Little Sprouts teachers. She also creates a program to assist young adults in pursuing their education while they learn early childhood teaching skills. Little Sprouts begins offering formal trainings to local high schools, corporations, and the public – many at low or no cost. 

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    Susan and several staff members become certified facilitators of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens® training. A total of 22 Little Sprouts staff members are now certified facilitators in the High/Scope curriculum and the "7 Habits" workshops.

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    Little Sprouts is awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Training and Development for an "Out of School Youth" (OSY) program. Little Sprouts offers the Project STRIVE OSY program to 17 young adults, providing GED classes, leadership skills training, and employability skills training while the students gain hands-on experience working in Little Sprouts centers. 

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    The first STRIVE OSY class graduates. Little Sprouts is again awarded OSY funding from the Massachusetts Department of Training and Development to continue Project STRIVE.

    Little Sprouts competes against 800 other childcare centers nationally and is one of only 30 that are awarded the prestigious Early Reading First grant. The grand funds a three-year project whose goals are to increase literacy in the Little Sprouts preschool classrooms and to enhance Little Sprouts teachers' professional development. 

    The Leadership and Literacy Foundation is formed and receives its official 501(c)3 non-profit status. Susan and her staff develop the idea for a children's museum in the greater Lawrence area. This project will become the focus of several fundraising and development efforts in coming years. 

    The Foundation holds its first fall fundraiser, Literacy for Life, raising money to purchase books for local hospitals and nursing homes. 

  • Late 1970s- 1981


    The second Project STRIVE OSY class graduates. The Foundation Board of Directors is formed, making the Foundation a fully functioning, separate organization from Little Sprouts.

    Achievements include:

    • Collaborating with Literacy Works of Lawrence, MA to award literacy grants to organizations in the community. 
    • Co-sponsoring the annual CHILD Conference which stresses Creating Habits ILifelong Development (October)
    • Hosting the 2nd annual Literacy for Life fall fundraiser, with children's author Rosemary Wells as the evening's speaker (November 5).
  • Late 1970s- 1981


    In 2008, The Leadership and Literacy Foundation changes its name to Inspirational Ones.

Our Core Team

Susan Leger-Ferraro

Susan's passion is business growth as a path to expanding opportunity and consciousness. In addition to her work through Inspirational Ones, she is the Founder of Little Sprouts, Inc; Imajine That; Peace Love and Happiness; and the Leger/Ferraro/Neal Family Foundation.Susan has secured more than $14 million in grant funds and more than $20 million in private/public funds focused on growth in the for- profit business market.

Michael Luciano

Michael Anthony Luciano is a social entrepreneur, with a diverse background including sales, culinary arts, social media marketing and real estate development. Mike’s various skills reflect his constant craving to know more. Pursuing his passion early in his working career; Mike rose through the culinary ranks as he climbed from the dish pits into the trenches as a line cook and eventually rising to the rank of sous chef.

Ready to Make a Difference?

Contact us for a consultation today.