Grant Recipient: Rhyan Toledo ‘12
Major: Psychology, Religion
Organization: Jumpstart, Tufts University
Location: Boston, MA
I have had such an amazing summer working for Jumpstart. Jumpstart is a national early education organization under Ameri Corps 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. Jumpstart's mission is to work toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. They train and support college students to work in preschool classrooms with children from low-income backgrounds on language, literacy, social, and initiative skills over the course of the year and the summer. As a corps member I worked in a preschool classroom of three year olds in South Boston. As a Jumpstart Corps Member I implemented early childhood curriculum, supported family involvement, promoted language and literacy skill through ongoing relationships with the 15 children in my classroom, and collaborated with fellow Corps Members and Site Directors once a week at training. Jumpstart is an amazing program because it is just as much about learning as it is teaching. I received intensive training and professional development, early childhood theory and practice, language and literacy development, leadership skills, and communication with families. It is amazing how much support Jumpstart and Ameri Corps gives to its volunteers. They are truly as concerned with your personal growth as they are with the children you are working with. Paid Corps Member positions in the Boston are reserved for students attending a college in Boston affiliated with Jumpstart. There are opportunities for those attending colleges from other areas to participate as unpaid volunteers, but as a student on financial aid it was not possible for me to commit to a time intensive (40 hours a week, plus planning) position, despite how much I wanted the experience. That is why I am so grateful that the Summer Experience Grant allowed me this amazing opportunity. I have had such a positive experience that I would highly recommend working for Jumpstart to anyone that enjoys children and education. That being said, JUMPSTART IS NOT JUST FOR FUTURE TEACHERS! Really! I have no idea if I want to work in a classroom when I graduate, and a lot of the other people I have met working for Jumpstart are interested in Psychology, Social Work, Community Development, Medicine, or just love working with kids!
I really cannot cram all of the amazing things I have learned and experienced this summer into one paragraph. If you are interested in Jumpstart please contact me!