by Louis Berman
Louis is the Associate Community Manager of Community Corps in Jumpstart’s Northeast region.
The year was 2004 and like many others, Ruth Andrews was on the job hunt. Too young for retirement, Ruth had a wealth of experience under her belt and loved being around other people. In the midst of looking for work that she would enjoy and find fulfilling, Ruth had a conversation with a friend that would soon change her life.
Ruth ended up finding herself back in a classroom. Upon hearing about Jumpstart, Ruth applied to join Boston’s Community Corps program, where she has been serving children in low-income areas throughout the Roxbury community of Boston for 10 years.
Concerned with eliminating any thoughts of illiteracy, Ruth is committed to Jumpstart’s mission and helping the preschool children she works with develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for kindergarten. With past experience working with a literacy group, Ruth came to Jumpstart knowing the importance of the fundamentals of reading early on. “We’re getting to them before they can reach that point, before they fall behind,” said Ruth, as she acknowledged the kindergarten readiness gap that exists in America’s preschoolers and how she’s working to close it.
She tells the story of one of her partner children, Gloria, who consistently had trouble spelling her name. Ruth spent time explaining the difference of various letters, including the upper and lowercase ones. Under Ruth’s guidance, Gloria learned to segment her name into two parts, allowing her to master her first name before moving onto her last…with some fun tricks and tests in between.
Ruth’s love of children also comes with a love of education. Though she admittedly had her own struggles along the way, Ruth worked her way through, eventually attaining a four-year degree and a Masters in General Management from Lesley University in Boston. Now, thanks in large part to Jumpstart, Ruth is also a certified early childhood teacher in Massachusetts.
Throughout her life, Ruth has known people who’ve battled illiteracy through their adulthood. Because of her work, this is a battle certain children will not have to fight. She comes back to Jumpstart each program year ready for a new adventure with new children as one of the lucky ones who has her “dream job.”
Jumpstart Community Corps programs started in Boston in 2004 and are currently serving children in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Learn more.