In 1998, Joanne Lee was a three-year-old preschool student at the Chinese Church Head Start in a low-income neighborhood in Boston. Joanne was a cheerful girl who loved being surrounded by friends, playing with bubbles, engaging in circle time, and taking field trips to places like the aquarium and local restaurants where they learned how to make pizza.
Joanne was among the first generation of children to be served by Jumpstart and these moments make up just a small selection of her memories of the program. Today, Joanne is a 19-year-old sophomore at Boston University. She majors in Early Childhood Education, working toward a degree in Dual Language Development, and she is a Jumpstart Corps member. Joanne’s mom, Sally, is a huge role model for her. Sally is now a teacher at the same preschool that Joanne attended 14 years ago.
After years of hearing stories of her mom’s experience as a teacher, Joanne felt compelled to get back in the classroom as an educator, not just a student.
After years of hearing stories of her mom’s experience as a teacher, Joanne felt compelled to get back in the classroom as an educator, not just a student. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Joanne returns to her childhood neighborhood to help children develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path for lifelong success.
“Growing up in Boston, I didn’t think about any other part of the country other than New England. Jumpstart motivated me to give back to the community. The kindergarten readiness gap is a national crisis and I’m doing what I can to help educate today’s youth.”