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Jumpstart for a Day Brings Howard Volunteers, D.C. Youth Together

Contributing Writer

Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 20:04

Jumpstart

Photo by Letese' Clark

Students from Banneker Early Learning Development center reading at the magic storytelling carpet.jpg Students from Banneker Early Learning Development center reading at the magic storytelling carpet

While some children between the ages of 3 to 5 years old sat at home or at daycare, 166 Head Start students walked around the lower gymnasium of Howard University's Burr Gymnasium with bright smiles, face paint and loud voices on Friday for Jumpstart for a Day.

 

In the small period of three hours the students partnered with Jumpstart corps members and volunteers to learn the importance of recycling, reading, the alphabet, safety, and dental hygiene.

 

Jumpstart for a Day was planned and fundraised as final project by CapComm Lab students.

 

Sophomore physical assistant major Tamiah Thomas and Jumpstart Corps member helped students with their alphabet at the Letter Treasure Hunt station.

 

"This is important for the kids because they may not be able to practice their letters at home. Although today is just one day, it a big step in some of the kids lives," Thomas said.

 

According to a study conducted by Jumpstart, out of 50 children having trouble learning to read in kindergarten, 44 will still be having trouble in third grade.

 

It is this statistic that Jumpstart across the country is trying to eliminate.

 

Jumpstart is a national early education organization that helps low-income children develop the language and literacy skills they need to be successful in school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.

 

The children are identified by their teachers as needing extra support in the areas of literacy, language and social skills through mentorship and curriculum based group educational activities.

 

The attention and instruction the students receive by participating in Jumpstart maximize their opportunity to enter grade school with the skills to attain school success.

 

"Jumpstart gives the children an opportunity to vocalize their voice. The corps members are essential because not only do they help the children with their learning they assist the teachers," Joyce Koskey, center director at Banneker Early Childhood Development Center.

 

On April 9, students from Seaton Elementary, Banneker Early Childhood Development Center, Howard University Hospital Development Center and the Early Learning Program center had the opportunity to experience Jumpstart in a nutshell.

 

But Jumpstart for a Day wasn't just for students in the Jumpstart program or corps members. it was for all of the children in the classroom and volunteer students at Howard.

 

"One of the best things about Jumpstart for a day is that it gives all of the children, not just those in the program [a chance] to participate," Koskey said.

 

Associate Director of the Howard University Community Association Jacob Ortiz said, "for the Howard University students at-large that volunteer for Jumpstart for A Day the event provides an opportunity for one day of service that demonstrates a commitment to service and leadership to our local community."

 

The Howard University Community Association also inspires new Howard University students to commit to a year of service through Jumpstart in the near future.

 

"Seeing the smiles and excitement on the faces of the children makes me feel like I was involved in something worthwhile," Ortiz said.

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