We believe that building inner strength and confidence is essential to encouraging personal and community growth. We are dedicated to building positive character in individuals through arts education, community education and participation in humanitarian service in our community and beyond. We understand that in order to better the world, we must first better ourselves.
Connecting Community, Giving Back, and Inspiring Confidence
Meet Our Directors
Ryan Leavitt grew up in Blackfoot Idaho where he developed a love for songwriting, performing music, and entrepreneurship. After traveling across the country for business, Ryan and his wife, Katie, revitalized the 100 year old 4th ward building in Pocatello into a thriving arts education center. After 4 years of painstaking work the Leavitt Center opened its doors and offered its first classes in dance, musical theatre, voice, and percussion.
As the organization merged missions with the Gateway Foundation (a 30 year, longstanding arts education program) the Leavitt Center grew in popularity and now services over 400 children a year in arts education services through our non-profit Empower Humanity. Ryan and Katie have been blesses 5 beautiful children, and a cat. Ryan’s goal is to develop a sustainable plan to perpetuate these impactful programs well into the future.
Katie was born in a potato farming community in a little town called Blackfoot Idaho. She graduated from Snake River High school ‘97 and Idaho State University ‘01 with high honors. Katie held many leadership positions through college one of which was ISU Student Body President. She married her longtime friend Ryan Leavitt after he served a full-time LDS mission in Caracas, Venezuela in 2001. The Leavitt’s have 5 children and have lived all over the US including Maryland, Virginia, California, Hawaii and Texas. Katie has vast experience and a passion for Entrepreneurship, Business Strategy, Psychology, Spirituality and Finance.
She was an integral part of designing the building plans for the Leavitt Center Arts Academy. Along with her husband, she helped create, organize and incorporate both the Leavitt Center and it’s non-profit “Empower Humanity.”
Katie is now a recovering workaholic. She self-medicates with the occasional cherry diet pepsi and browses second hand stores for books in search of hidden ancient truth and wisdom and the occasional hot pair of heels. Their family currently lives in Pocatello, Idaho and spend most evenings supporting their kids sports, music, art and recreational activities. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling.
Since Shalyn was 3 years old she has had a love for music and dance. Performing and teaching her skills has always come naturally to her. She joined the Leavitt Center in 2013 and has been actively involved in the marketing and management of the Leavitt Center and the incorporation of “Empower Humanity.” She has accomplished this as well as taught cooking, music and dance. Seeing the personal growth of her students through their imagination and creativity as well as their expression through the arts is the highlight of her artistic career. Shalyn’s perceptive and team centered mentality as well as her willingness to quickly learn anything has been the backbone and one of the greatest assets of our organization.
How The Leavitt Center Came to Be Empower Humanity
In 2009 Ryan and Katie Leavitt purchased the former church building on the corner of 10th and Sublette in Pocatello. Ryan’s dream was to convert the building into a center for the arts, where music could be taught and performed on stage. They began the extensive renovation of the building, a process that took 3 years. In 2013 the first classes were offered in dance, musical theatre, voice, ballet, and percussion. By the end of the first semester of classes, there were approximately 50 students. With much work and advertising the Leavitt Center programs have grew to over 50 different classes, and have averaged over 250 students each semester. Although the Leavitt Center was helping hundreds of students participate in the arts, Ryan and Katie felt the need to do more. They decided that it was time to turn the Leavitt Center into a non profit organization. In January of 2016, Ryan, Katie and Shalyn Brown formed Empower Humanity, a non-profit organization.