Shahnaz Terzi is one of 120 Jumpstart Corps members at the University of Pittsburgh. She is studying to become a pediatric speech-language pathologist and joined Jumpstart not only to gain experience working with young children, but to also give back to the Pittsburgh community.
Marco is a 4-year-old boy in Shahnaz’s Jumpstart classroom at the Crescent Early Childhood Center. When Shahnaz first met Marco, he was very soft spoken, liked playing by himself, wasn’t interested in reading, and didn’t talk very much. While Shahnaz didn’t take it personally, she made it her mission to find a way to genuinely connect with Marco.
After just a few weeks of Jumpstart sessions, I was so excited to see Marco’s progress. He smiles often, is talking a lot more, and has made incredible advancement with his letters.
“Every child is different, so I tried various techniques with Marco in order to keep him engaged. If he couldn’t remember a particular letter, I would provide prompts or sounds such as making a snake with my hands for the letter ‘S.’ After just a few weeks of Jumpstart sessions, I was so excited to see Marco’s progress. He smiles often, is talking a lot more, and has made incredible advancement with his letters. Now when we go over the spelling of his name, he shows an interest in learning his letters, an interest that I had never seen before. He asks questions when we read books, participates with his classmates, and makes eye contact with others. I’m a more effective team player, a solutions-oriented problem solver, and I have more confidence in my ability to effectively communicate with children, a skill that I didn’t have before meeting Marco and becoming a Jumpstart Corps member.”