Posted May 7, 2015

Celebrating 10 years of steering children toward success

Kevin Cook
Lashay Cobb and her son, Titus, enjoy a day of learning during Jumpstart for a Day, a celebration of 10 years of the Temple Jumpstart literacy program.

LaShay Cobb watched closely as her son, Titus, visited learning tables during the Jumpstart for a Day celebration at the YMCA on Broad Street. Between face painting and stopping for snacks, Titus made his way through each of the 33 activities, all designed to teach a different literacy skill.

Titus started participating in the Jumpstart program at the YMCA when he was 3 years old. Now in prekindergarten, Titus is excited to learn, according to his mom.

“He developed a real love for reading,” Cobb said. “We can’t miss a night of bedtime stories; he brings me books and lets me know it’s time to read. He’s working on trying to figure out words and letters by himself.”

Jumpstart, a national early education program, works to develop key language and literacy skills in children who live in low-income communities. For the last 10 years, Jumpstart Philadelphia at Temple University has helped children with the critical language, literacy and social skills that they need to enter kindergarten. Twice a week, Jumpstart volunteers, or corps members, from different backgrounds and majors lead reading and literacy projects for preschool students in North Philadelphia.

The organization also hosts several social events throughout the year. Community-based reading events such as Read for the Record and Dr. Seuss Day help connect the entire community of students, parents and supporters, said Jason Bozzone, assistant dean in the College of Education.

“In addition to narrowing the achievement gap by working to make sure students excel in the classroom, Jumpstart helps children develop socially and developmentally through community-based events like Jumpstart for a Day,” said Bozzone.

In 2014, Jumpstart at Temple expanded from  50 to 80 Jumpstart corps members. The expansion allows the literacy program to serve a total of 11 classrooms and more than 200 children in the North Philadelphia area.

“When we started this program at Temple, I knew that we had the potential to be something great in Philadelphia,” said Gillian Sharkey, CLA ’06, senior director of programing and new market development at Jumpstart’s regional office based in New York City. “Now we’re at our 10th anniversary and it’s amazing how much we’ve done, but I know we have further to go. I am looking forward to the future of Jumpstart in North Philadelphia.”