Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods. This program partnered with Kean University in the 2012-2013 academic year; since then it has changed the lives of over 12,000 preschoolers nationwide.
"Jumpstart provides language, literacy and social-emotional programming for preschool children from under-resourced communities and promotes quality early learning for all," said Gina Miseo, Site Manager for Jumpstart at Kean University.
“Our proven curriculum helps children develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for kindergarten, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late,” as stated on the Kean University homepage. “Together we are working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.”
Students who are accepted into the Jumpstart program will receive full professional training in order to learn the essential skills that they will need in order assist in the classrooms. Upon completion of the training, students will then need to commit to a minimum of 224 hours in full school year —eight hours a week—as a Corps member volunteer. The time Corps members spent in the classroom allows them to engage with the preschool students and help them to get a "jumpstart" on their education.
“Preschoolers in low income neighborhoods are 60% behind their more affluent peers and [we need to] fill the literality gaps so that they enter kindergarten ready to succeed,” said Stephanie Merola, Jumpstart Specialist and elementary education major.
The Jumpstart program was brought to 71 universities and colleges throughout the country. It was created with the mission of battling the crisis in early literacy. The success of the Jumpstart program would not be possible without the commitment and passion of the Corps members.
“Jumpstart is extremely rewarding,” said Miseo. “Since we work with children from under resourced communities, I feel that any intentional activities that we do help towards change. If it’s educating Kean University students on the education gap/kindergarten readiness gap, or introducing new ideas/vocabulary to the preschoolers, every little bit helps.”
If interested in becoming a member of the Jumpstart team, please contact Gina Miseo in the Center for Leadership and Service in the Miron Student Center, room 215 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.