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Alumni Stories

Nearly 30,000 strong, our Alumni Network is full of incredible stories. We know so many of you are continuing to put children first in ways big and small long after your Jumpstart service comes to an end.

Do you have a story of impact to share? Tell us and we'll send it to members of Congress to inspire change on Capitol Hill.

Meet Ariana

Ariana Westbrook served as a Corps member and Team Leader at the University of Washington from 2009-2012. She recently shared her story about Jumpstart’s impact and how her experience helped to shape her future.

“I joined Jumpstart because of my love for children and interest in teaching. I knew this program would give me the experience I needed to become an effective teacher, but I wasn’t expecting to be introduced to the vast possibilities of potential careers within the education system. Jumpstart trains its corps members for successful careers in child psychology, social services, early childhood curriculum development, and teaching. The program not only trained me for those potential career choices, but it also gave me the field experience needed to get a true feel of what it means to be a childcare provider and advocate.

Throughout my service I formed great friendships, networks, and strong leadership skills. The support of the staff and consistent communication between the management and team leaders allowed me to strengthen my leadership skills phenomenally. I gained a better knowledge of what it means to work with children in developmentally appropriate ways and then I put that knowledge to use in the classroom. Also, because Jumpstart is a community based program I was able to connect with members of the Seattle area outside of the university community, which has helped me to relate to those that I would like to continue working with.

I’m now working as an instructional assistant through City Year, where I work with a group of energetic and talented third graders who both challenge and bring me great joy on a daily basis. Part of my job consists of me creating academic interventions, as well as creating age appropriate activities for young children. As a result of my service with Jumpstart, I have a confidence in the methods I use when I work with children. I believe that the combination of the consistent guidance and quality of leadership that the site managers displayed has not only prepared for a career in education, but it has also given me the skills needed to be a successful young adult.”

- Ariana Westbrook