Naila Bolus is President & CEO of Jumpstart.
A Jumpstart Corps member at the University of Connecticut recently shared this simple moment on Twitter: “All the children yelled 'we love you!' as my team left the classroom today.”
What is most inspiring is that moments like this repeat themselves day after day in Jumpstart preschools across the country. The meaningful connections our Corps members build with the children they serve are truly special. And as we work to close America's kindergarten readiness gap in our highest-need communities, it's these moments that validate our mission.
We're proud that over the past year we have strengthened our commitment to put children first in so many ways. As we reflect on 2013, our 20th year of service to young children, I want to share with you 20 Jumpstart moments that mattered most.
1. 20th Anniversary Celebration
To launch our 20th Anniversary celebration in January, we brought together Jumpstart's founders, friends, and supporters for an inspiring event in Washington, DC. The celebration left everyone energized to begin our next 20 years of putting children first.
2. Reimagined Brand Identity
In 2013, we introduced a brand new look to Jumpstart. Under the guiding principle of putting “children first,” our revised logo, vibrant new colors, and refined messaging put the focus on what truly matters in our work.
3. Ben & Jerry's Liz Lemon Launch
In January, we launched the most delicious way yet to support the children we serve. Ben & Jerry's Liz Lemon Greek frozen yogurt is dedicated to Jumpstart and was created in collaboration with Tina Fey, a long-time Jumpstart champion and the star of NBC's 30 Rock.
4. President Obama's Preschool for All Proposal
In his 2013 State of the Union Address in February, President Obama made a historic commitment to expand access to high-quality preschool. We're proud to be part of the national conversation during this pivotal moment for early childhood education in America.
5. Expanding our Reach
Serving children living in poverty and preparing them to enter kindergarten ready to succeed is why we exist as an organization. This year we expanded our impact by connecting passionate educators with 11,300 children across the country, more than any year in our history.
6. Bridget Moynahan Joins the Jumpstart Family
Actress Bridget Moynahan, the star of CBS' Blue Bloods, has been an advocate for Jumpstart Corps members and our proven preschool program for years. Earlier this month we were honored to welcome Bridget to our National Board of Directors, where her leading voice will help shine a spotlight on early education in America.
7. Growing our National Early Education Council
Our National Early Education Council is a group of leading lights in the field of early education who have united behind our mission. This year we welcomed Doug Clements and Susan Neuman to the Jumpstart family, strengthening this group of experts who in turn, strengthen our service to children.
8. A Celebration for the Record Books
For the eighth year in a row, Jumpstart's Read for the Record brought adults and children everywhere together for a world record celebration of literacy. Thanks to so many of you, we shined a light on the magic of reading by sharing the story of Otis by Loren Long with a record-breaking 2.4 million people on October 3.
9. Inspiring Scribbles to Novels Events
Each year, we celebrate our mission and our family of supporters at Scribbles to Novels. In 2013, our galas in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco brought esteemed authors such as Tom Brokaw, Tina Fey, and David Gergen out to highlight the importance of early education.
10. The First-Ever Jumpstart Awards
To fully celebrate our 20th Anniversary, we wanted to honor those who have helped make Jumpstart who we are today. Through our first-ever Jumpstart Awards, we recognized an inspiring supporter, Corps member, alumnus, and legislative champion.
11. Investing in our Alumni
The magic of Jumpstart comes not only when our children enter kindergarten ready to thrive, but also when our Corps members go on to become advocates for early childhood education. This year we strengthened our commitment to the next generation of educators through investing in our ever-growing Alumni Network.
12. Studying the Impact of Jumpstart Service
We were thrilled this year when Dr. Deborah Hecht released her study on the impact of Jumpstart on our college student Corps members. Dr. Hecht shared concrete data on what we've known for years: serving with Jumpstart can be life-changing. From workforce development to knowledge of early childhood education, we find that our Corps members never expect to learn so much for themselves in a preschool classroom.
13. Best Nonprofit to Work For 2013
At Jumpstart we're committed to creating a first-class workplace for everyone working to put children first. That's why we were honored to be recognized as one of The NonProfit Times' Best Nonprofits to Work For in 2013.
14. Community Corps' 10th Anniversary
Jumpstart's Community Corps gives caring older adults the opportunity to serve young children in need of a “jumpstart” right in their own neighborhood. As our Community Corps members brought their unique experience and perspective into preschool classrooms, we celebrated the 10th Anniversary since the program's founding.
15. Researching Toxic Stress
In 2013, Dr. Stacey N. Doan examined the impact of participating in Jumpstart on young children's toxic stress levels. Her study revealed yet another positive effect of the unique connections Jumpstart fosters between Corps members and the children they serve.
16. Celebrating our Partners
We've grown for the past 20 years in large part because of our committed sponsors and partner organizations. This year we strengthened our relationships with our national sponsors at Franklin Templeton Investments, and Tommy Hilfiger–all key partners in putting children first.
17. Strengthening our AmeriCorps Service
As a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, we saw yet again in 2013 the power of volunteerism to transform lives. We grew our AmeriCorps partnership in 2013, enabling Corps members to dedicate more than 1 MILLION hours of service to young children.
18. The Boston Marathon
We couldn't reflect on 2013 without remembering the Boston Marathon. Our team of charity runners and the many heroes born on that day remind us that when we unite around a common purpose and big ideals, we can achieve greatness together.
19. Opening the Jumpstart Marketplace
In conjunction with our biggest Read for the Record celebration yet, we launched the Jumpstart Marketplace in August. It is stocked with Jumpstart gear and high-quality resources like our 2014 Family Calendar. Best of all, 100% of your purchase supports our programs in preschools across the country.
20. Thank You for Putting Children First
Our final moment to remember in 2013 is all about you. Throughout the year, you've been inspired to support our work in ways big and small, and on behalf of the entire Jumpstart family, I thank you.
This holiday season, we are thankful to you for making the magic of Jumpstart a reality for 4,300 Corps members and 11,300 children in 2013. Two decades after the idea for Jumpstart was born, you are helping us change the trajectory of children's lives, and we're inspiring the next generation of educators in the process. Thank you for an incredible year of joy and transformation. Thank you for putting children first.