by Joy Errico Seusing
Joy Errico Seusing is Jumpstart’s former Senior Vice President of External Relations.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Jumpstart. Our Corps members are entering preschool classrooms nationwide to provide vital service to children in low-income neighborhoods and we’re celebrating a momentous occasion – Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®.
For the past eight years, Jumpstart has engaged millions of adults and children nationwide and across the globe in Read for the Record. Read for the Record is a campaign that not only shines a spotlight on the importance of literacy, but also raises awareness of Jumpstart’s important mission.
Each year is different, with a different book, different supporters, and a different record to break. These differences are what make the campaign so exciting. We feel especially motivated by the new record we set out to break each year, which represents the backbone of the campaign – awareness. We read to drive a national dialogue about the critical need for high-quality early education. The campaign serves to celebrate our efforts and reinforce Jumpstart’s mission in a tangible way. It’s amazing to engage children and adults with Read for the Record as the vehicle. It’s most inspiring to see the reach of the campaign, as more and more children experience the magic of reading Otis by Loren Long with their peers around the globe.
Today, hundreds of reading events will take place in celebration of the campaign. Teachers, parents, adults, and children will read in classrooms, homes, libraries, and offices to celebrate Jumpstart’s mission: to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.
Military families will read together across oceans through the power of technology and children will crowd libraries in cities and towns from coast to coast, bringing the official campaign book, Otis, to life with interactive activities. Folks will gather at children’s museums transformed into reading worlds. Schools will hold readings, and families will come together for a special moment of connection.
Loren Long will read to children in New York City. Star of USA’s White Collar and our 2013 campaign ambassador Tiffani Thiessen will make a special appearance on NBC’s TODAY Show, raising awareness of the importance of high-quality early education far and wide.
Last night, Manhattan’s skyline gleamed with a burst of Jumpstart’s signature red as the Empire State Building was lit to officially kickoff the campaign. All of these instances add up to a record-breaking celebration – one that would not be possible without your support. Special thanks to our amazing sponsors who worked tirelessly to make today a reality.
Today, every Jumpstart child will receive a copy of Otis to take home, thanks to thoughtful partners. One of the many benefits of the campaign is putting books in the hands of children who need them most. For many of our children, this is the first book they have ever called their own. There’s tremendous excitement around Read for the Record and, naturally, it all leads back to reading. When we read together, it’s a symbolic action of raising awareness of the unsettling kindergarten readiness gap that exists in early education. Each and every day Jumpstart strives to bridge inequalities in education and society. By reading with us today, you are taking us one step further toward achieving the goal set forth in our mission.
At Jumpstart, we’re always looking toward the horizon and seeking new ways to serve more children. For seven years in a row, we have broken the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. We’re confident we will succeed in breaking the record again this year, thanks to you. As we work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed, it’s important to reflect and celebrate all we’ve accomplished together. The best way to celebrate is to simply open a book and read.
Thank you for joining us to put children first. We encourage you to make your reading count today.