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Jumpstart in the Midwest


In Chicago, there are over 36,000 children between the ages of 3-5 years old living below the federal poverty lineand we know that poverty is the best predictor of long term school success.  In Chicago, 44% of children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning.  In the 2013-2014 program year, Jumpstart is partnering more than 250 Corps members to work with over 700 preschool children living in high need Chicago neighborhoods and at risk of school failure. Together, for an entire school year, Corps members will work on the language and literacy and socio-emotional skills these children need to succeed not only in school, but also in life.

Interested in partnering with Jumpstart Midwest for your office party, volunteer work or charitable donations? Jumpstart offers easy opportunities for volunteering, donation, or both with its Family Home Learning Connection Kit Program. For more information, to schedule a volunteer event at your office, or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Karina Kidder at Karina.kidder@jstart.org

To learn more about how you can get involved with Jumpstart in Chicago, contact Rachel McHugh at 312.867.7091 or rachel.mchugh@jstart.org

Basic Info

In 2003, Jumpstart expanded to Chicago, first partnering with Roosevelt University and DePaul University to work in a handful of Chicago preschools. Since then, Jumpstart has recruited and trained hundreds of Corps members to change thousands of children’s lives in Chicago and in Illinois. Just last year, Dominican University joined five other universities as a Jumpstart higher education partner, and Jumpstart trained over 200 Corps members to implement the Jumpstart program in 37 preschool classrooms across the city.

Local Advisory Board

At Jumpstart, we believe that surrounding ourselves with talented and dedicated people is the best way to grow and improve our service to children, college students, families, and communities. Every advisory board concentrates on a strategic area of focus - from providing regional leadership to advising on developments in early education - with the goal of expanding and improving Jumpstart's program.

  • Dr. Laura Berk Chairperson, Professor Emerita, Illinois State University
  • Rachel Gross Consultant, Self-Employed
  • Robbin Sejud                                                                                                      
  • Janielle Taylor Adjunct Faculty, Columbia College, Jumpstart AmeriCorps Alum
  • Dawne Pollard  JPMorgan Chase

2012 brought with it the initiation of Jumpstart Midwest's Young Professionals Board. This group of committed young associates raises awareness and generates support for Jumpstart’s work. Board members have the opportunity to not only directly and positively change lives of preschool children in need, but to gain valuable leadership experience, network, create friendships and positively impact the Chicago community.

  • Jessica Parks US Bank
  • Tobi Pinsky Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Devan Popat Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Ashley Reed Accenture
  • Anna Sebestyen Accenture
  • Brad Wiss Morgan Stanley
  • Kristin Keaschall CenTrust
  • Rhyan Curtis  JPMorgan Chase
  • Lisa Toban

If you are interested in learning more about membership in our Local Advisory Board or Young Professional Board, please contact Karina Kidder at 312.867.5414 or Karina.Kidder@jstart.org.

Sponsors and Supporters

Community Partners:

  • Chicago Public Libraries
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • AmeriCorps
  • Austin Coming Together
  • Chicago Literacy Alliance

Corporate and Foundation Partners:

  • A Better Chicago
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • US Bancorp Foundation
  • People's Gas
  • Guy A. and N. Kay Arboit Charitable Trust
  • A. Montgomery Ward Foundation
  • McMaster-Carr Supply Company
  • AOL
  • Salesforce.com Foundation
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Shoppertrack RCT Corp

In the News

University/College Partners

DePaul University
Dominican University
Loyola University Chicago
Northwestern University
Roosevelt University
University of Chicago

Early Education Partners

Erie Neighborhood House
Gads Hill Center
North Lawndale YMCA
Chicago Youth Center (ABC Polk Bros.)
Christopher House-Uptown
Christopher House-Rogers Park
Gale Math and Science Academy (CPS)
Jordan Community School (CPS)
High Ridge YMCA
Howard Area Community Center
Robert Crown Center's Creative Play Preschool
East Garfield YMCA
Mary Crane Center - Austin
Carole Robertson Center for Learning
Spencer Elementary School (CPS)
Oscar DePriest Elementary School (CPS)
National Teachers Academy (CPS)
Fiske Elementary School (CPS)
Emmett Louis Till Math and Science Academy (CPS)
James Wadsworth Elementary School (CPS)

Contact Info

For general inquiries and volunteer opportunities in your area
Rachel McHugh
Regional Operations Manager
For program development and expansion opportunities
Karina Kidder
Executive Director
On Twitter: @JumpstartKarina

Jumpstart Chicago on Social Media:
Jumpstart Chicago on Facebook: facebook.com/JumpstartChicago
Jumpstart Chicago on Twitter:  twitter.com/Jumpstart_Chi

Site Staff

Heather Little and Missy Frazin
DePaul University Site Managers

Benjamin Mueller
Dominican University Site Manager

Jessica Young
Loyola University, Chicago Site Manager

Micaela Moran
Northwestern University Site Manager

Renita Johnson
Roosevelt University Site Manager

Lucy Hall
University of Chicago Site Manager

Executive Director Bio

Karina Kidder, Executive Director

Karina has been with Jumpstart for ten years and has been dedicated to supporting the implementation of Jumpstart Chicago’s programs for the last eight. Karina has also supported growth activities in Chicago, helping to expand current programs and bringing new partnerships to the Jumpstart network. As Executive Director, Karina is responsible for managing all programmatic activities in Chicago and surrounding areas, developing strategic partnerships for future growth in and around Chicago, and supporting local fundraising and development activities to support Jumpstart Chicago’s existing program and future programs. Prior to working at Jumpstart Chicago, Karina served as a Jumpstart Site Manager for two years at the Jumpstart Claremont program at Pitzer College in Southern California. Karina earned her B.A. from Occidental College in Los Angeles.  


Jumpstart Midwest Family Home Learning Connection

Jumpstart Midwest's Family Involvement Kits are a resource provided at no cost to families of preschool children participating in our program. The kits inform parents and caregivers about the importance of early literacy for their preschool child and provide additional activities to do at home that supplement concepts the preschool child is learning in class through Jumpstart's curriculum

If you are interested in sponsorship and volunteer opportunities linked to the Family Home Learning Connection Program, contact Rachel McHugh at 312.867.7091 or Rachel.McHugh@jstart.org.