Celebrating Jumpstart All Stars for Week of the Young Child

From April 16 – April 20, Jumpstart and other early education organizations took part in Week of the Young ChildTM, an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, teachers, and families. In honor of Week of the Young Child, we’re highlighting some of our Jumpstart All Stars — people who make a difference in the lives of children every day. See our Jumpstart All Stars below!

Emily Paddon, Corps Member at Fordham University

Nominated by: Katie Ilacqua, Program Director

Emily has provided almost 700 hours of service to preschool children in the Bronx so far and provides all children with an appropriate and enriching classroom experience. Since her first day of service, Emily has been instrumental to programming and a true leader in curriculum adaptations for children with developmental delays. This summer, Emily will be attending the Fordham Graduate School of Education.

Katie Gravante, Corps Member at Georgia Institute of Technology

Nominated by: Rylee Thornbury, Site Manager

Katie’s dedication ensures that the children in her classroom feel validated, loved, and encouraged. They LOVE to see Miss Katie walk through the door and will question her absence on the rare days she’s not able to be there. The staff at the preschool center have nothing but admiration and kind words for Katie. She is happy, optimistic, and a true example to everyone she interacts with. Since starting Jumpstart, Katie has decided to make a switch to an early childhood education major and will continue to make an impact in the lives of children for years to come!

Olivier Kercy, Site Manager at St. John’s University

Nominated by: Christina Miller, Site Manager

Olivier’s journey with Jumpstart is a special one. He has moved up through the ranks of Jumpstart, beginning as a Corps member, then taking on more initiative as a team leader, and finally, becoming a site manager. Although he just graduated last year, Olivier demonstrates a maturity beyond his years by holding his Corps members to a high level of responsibility and accountability. Olivier takes Jumpstart’s mission to heart, bringing positivity and kindness to everything he does. He is an asset to Jumpstart St. John’s!

Brittney Lacerte, Corps Member at Worcester State University

Nominated by: Lynn Thompson, Site Manager

Brittney has been a Jumpstart Corps member since September 2016 and has stepped into the team leader role this year. She is flexible in meeting the individual needs of the children and supports her team as they work with their partner children. Brittney consistently looks for new strategies to share with her team as they navigate the various complex needs of the classroom. Through her participation in family literacy nights at our partner preschool and the personal notes that she sends home to families, Brittney has created strong relationships with everyone in the community.

Stephanie Plaza, Corps Member at Kean University

Nominated by: Michelle Zuzock, Site Manager

Stephanie deserves to be a Jumpstart All Star because she goes above and beyond in all that she does for the Jumpstart Kean program. Stephanie is always creating new materials to engage the children in her classroom and making sure her partner children are receiving high-quality programming.

Before reading Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza, Stephanie and her team took it upon themselves to turn their classroom into a special pizza kitchen where all of the children had their own aprons and chef hats. They even made pizzas together! This is the type of energy and enthusiasm that Stephanie brings to every Jumpstart session, making sure her partner children have incredible experiences week after week.

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

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