In late 2001 the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addictions (DMHA) set out to find an organization that could create a statewide network of youth prevention leaders. Geminus Corporation, along with several Indiana Boys & Girls Clubs and the Indiana Youth Services Association – Youth Services Bureaus worked together to create the LEAD Initiative. The goal of the program was to strengthen youth leadership across Indiana by providing opportunities for youth including training, resources, and networking and to implement trained youth leaders into prevention programs so that youth receive prevention messages from their peers through peer-led activities.

The L.E.A.D. Initiative began with Cohort One in March of 2002 as a program for youth leadership development and alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use prevention. The key to the creation of the initiative was incorporating elements that had a focus from one or more of the following research-based prevention principle areas: Peers, Families, Communities, and Schools.