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Jumpstart Your Community Involvement

Nick Zwaan ‘15

Staff Writer

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Jumpstart allows students to make an impact in others lives. The national non-profit organization is comprised of six different teams, consisting of 45 students this year alone at Merrimack College. Ever wanted to get involved in the surrounding communities but weren’t sure where to start? Jumpstart could be just the program for you.

Jumpstart works with preschool children with the goal of “working towards the day every child enters kindergarten ready to succeed.” The organization helps preschool children with Alphabet knowledge, phonemic awareness, rhyme awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, and meaning and use of print. The teams are spread across various preschools throughout Lawrence.

Entering the classroom twice a week, teams implement several strategies to help the children reach their learning goals. Sessions include reading core story books, circle time with songs and poems for the children, along with stations in which dramatic plays are set up or pretend grocery shopping to spark students creativity. Art also allows these children to express themselves by painting or creating collages. Puzzles also play an important role in the children’s development through Jumpstart.

Merrimack students participating in Jumpstart have found that in the process of giving back to these children, they themselves have taken away something from the experience.

umpstart corps member Marisa Rainey came back to Jumpstart this year for a second term this year “because of the children.”

“When you get to know them, you can’t help but love them,” Rainey said. “ Then you realize how amazing this program truly is and how much it really helps these children, and you watch as they grow every time you’re in the classroom with them and it could not be more satisfying.”

Students looking to pursue a path in education after college have found that this program allows them to get an early, jump-start you could say. Corps member Joanna Haswell said that she participatd in Jumpstart “because it not only benefits me for my future wanting to become a teacher, but it also benefits these children who are not given as many opportunities and support as other children are.”

The sense of self-fulfillment that comes from helping these children prepare and better themselves for their future is, in itself a reason to look into Jumpstart for your own community involvement. If this program seems like something you would be interested in the Jumpstart site manager at Merrimack College is Stefanae Bowen, and can be reached at bowens@merrimack.edu for inquiries regarding the 2015-2016 school year.

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