My Fortune at Jumpstart

by Symone Wiggins

Symone is a former Corps member and recent Jumpstart Alumna from Temple University.

As I stood over the wheel on set of Wheel of Fortune among Pat Sajak and other college students, working to “solve the puzzle,” I couldn’t help but think of my time in the Jumpstart classroom, helping my partner child master the letters in his first name, and matching them with the title in Max’s Dragon Shirt, the book of that session. That’s my biggest win. My name is Symone Wiggins and I am heading into my senior year at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am currently studying Speech, Language, and Hearing with a Certificate in Spanish in Healthcare. I have always known that service would be a part of my life, and at Temple, I participate in many activities, however, none have captured my heart like Jumpstart.

My Jumpstart journey has consisted of a rewarding two years as a Corps member on the same team I know a lot of people think that we just go into classrooms and help the children we serve with their reading and language skills, but what they don’t get to see is the help we, as Corps members, get from the children. I consider it an honor to work with the children in my classroom and it was the favorite part of my week.

Amidst my Jumpstart journey I was presented with another incredible opportunity, landing myself a spot on Wheel of Fortune. I have been a “Wheel” fan since I was a child and had always dreamed of being a contestant on the show. To my dismay, I was never able to spot the “Wheel Mobile,” so I decided to apply online, and ended up attending auditions in my home state of Rhode Island. I won some great prizes, met some great people, and figured this is where my Wheel of Fortune journey would end.

This, to my great surprise, was not the case. Two weeks later I received a letter in the mail asking me if I would like to fly out to Los Angeles to film an episode of the show. Naturally, my answer was yes! So I packed my bags and left snowy Philadelphia to head to bright and sunny Los Angeles, California. Being on the show was such an amazing experience.

While on the show, I was asked to give a quick introduction of myself and I couldn’t help but talk about being a Jumpstart Corps member. Some people wondered of all the things that I could have said about life as a Temple student, why Jumpstart? Well, why not? Jumpstart is a program that changes so many lives and working with a group of students who dedicate their time to these wonderful children is something that should be shared with the world. Jumpstart has become more than just a program to me, it has become part of my life. While I have just completed my final year with Jumpstart I’m proud to be an alumna of the program, and I wouldn’t change my experience at Jumpstart Philadelphia for the world My name is Symone Wiggins, and I am a Jumpstart Corps member.

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

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