Representative Joe Courtney: A Champion of Early Childhood Education

2013 is a special year for us as it marks Jumpstart's 20th Anniversary. In celebration of this occasion we’ve established the first-ever Jumpstart Awards. Over the course of the year we pored over hundreds of qualified candidates, finally selecting four exemplary individuals: a supporter, a legislative champion, a Corps member, and an alumnus.

Each of these awards is based on Jumpstart’s core values – kindness, determination, learning, and connection. Award winners were selected by judging panels composed of Jumpstart staff, alumni, Corps members, board members, and supporters. We thank them for their leadership and expertise in selecting this year’s winners.

This is the second blog post in a four part series highlighting Jumpstart’s 20th Anniversary Award recipients.

Our first-ever “Determination” Award honors a government official determined to provide high-quality early education to all children in America. At Jumpstart, we are fortunate to have many tenacious ambassadors in our corner, and this year we’re celebrating Representative Joe Courtney of Connecticut for his embodiment of Jumpstart’s core values: learning, determination, connection, joy, and kindness.

Representative Courtney’s scope of work with Jumpstart is vast. He has shown his support for the organization both legislatively as an advocate for early childhood education and national service, and personally through his direct involvement. Over the past five years, Representative Courtney has engaged with Jumpstart in various capacities, from facilitating meetings with Jumpstart staff members, to attending Jumpstart’s Read for the Record events.

Legislatively, Representative Courtney has been a committed champion of our mission. In 2008, the Congressman was successful in helping Jumpstart gain verbal representation in the Higher Education Act to leverage Federal Work-Study funds at colleges and universities. In 2009, he cosponsored and voted for the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama and has both impacted and expanded volunteerism in America. His support of Jumpstart has been unwavering, and in 2010, he cosponsored the House Resolution to designate October 7, 2010 “Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Day.”

Representative Courtney is an advocate of our Corps members as well. In 2012, he attended Jumpstart’s 5th Anniversary at the University of Connecticut and delivered an inspiring speech to Corps members and volunteers in attendance. He focused on the importance of service, the value of Federal Work-Study, and the role that he and others in DC play in recognizing the impact Corps members make in communities. Representative Courtney has fully immersed himself in our work, and has been on several visits to our classrooms to experience the Jumpstart program in action. We are honored that the Congressman has also been actively involved in our anniversary celebrations, signing onto Jumpstart's 20th Anniversary Honorary Host Committee in January 2013.

From engaging with our Corps members and the children we serve, to shining a national spotlight on our mission, Representative Courtney has helped elevate Jumpstart and position us to lead systemic change in early education. We are honored to have an esteemed advocate in Representative Courtney, and we look forward to his continued involvement with the organization.

Stay tuned for our next post, highlighting the Alumni “Connection” Award recipient. If you missed our first post in the Jumpstart Awards series, click here to meet Jennifer Marrus.

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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