Our alumni spotlight series highlights stories from former Jumpstart Corps members as they reflect on their time with Jumpstart and discuss how the experience has served them in their current careers. Do you have a story to share? Want to make sure that you don’t miss any important stories or news for alumni? Join the Jumpstart Alumni Network to connect with fellow alum, stay connected to Jumpstart, and find new ways to stay involved in early education.
Griselda Rodriguez served as a Jumpstart team leader in her senior year, guiding her team — nicknamed The Warriors — through a full academic year at Volunteers of America, Chester Head Start. Approaching graduation, she wanted to become a teaching assistant, working in a preschool classroom as she did in her two years of Jumpstart service at CSU Dominguez Hills. A close yearlong relationship with a preschool staff member, however, led to an unexpected opportunity.
“When I was at Chester Head Start, I was close to the site supervisor,” Griselda said. “I let her know I wanted to be a teaching assistant, which was my original interest. When she found out that I was graduating, she informed me about a job fair.”
The job fair led to a number of interviews as well as an invitation to apply for a family advocate position at Volunteers of America Los Angeles. Griselda’s degree in Human Services aligned with the needs of the position, which involved case management and assessment. Her yearlong experience as a Jumpstart team leader and close relationship with the site supervisor also helped her land the job.
“Being part of Jumpstart not only allowed me to work with my community but made me feel like I was a part of it, too.”
“My time serving with Jumpstart was challenging and rewarding,” Griselda said. “Being part of Jumpstart not only allowed me to work with my community but made me feel like I was a part of it, too. Everything I learned during my service impacted my academic journey by preparing me to reach out to those in need in a professional way.”
Griselda’s professional interests evolved over time, but what remained consistent is her passion for helping families and children. She chose the Human Services major at CSU Dominguez Hills because it was broad and focused on helping people. An early interest in dual adoption care shifted to early childhood education after joining Jumpstart in her junior year.
“Originally I wanted to work at a Head Start, and be more involved with children,” Griselda said. “But I love the job I have right now. I like that it’s team-oriented and that I get to do work similar to what I did as a Jumpstart team leader.”
What was supposed to be a short-term gig at Volunteers of America evolved into a full-time position. Not long after graduating, Griselda is now a parent involvement assistant who monitors family advocates and site supervisors while overseeing family events and community partnerships for 10 Head Start centers in Los Angeles County. Graduate study in child development is a possibility for Griselda in the future, but for now, she remains focused on helping families and children thrive through her work with Volunteers of America.
“Griselda is a great example of a Corps member who used her education and her experience in Jumpstart to become a successful family advocate working for Volunteers of America.”
“Jumpstart equips corps members like Griselda with the skills they need to become an active social agent of change in their communities,” Jessica Ramirez, Jumpstart’s site manager at CSU Dominguez Hills, said. “Griselda is a great example of a Corps member who used her education and her experience in Jumpstart to become a successful family advocate working for Volunteers of America.”