Jumpstart Sets Vision for Continuing the Advancement of Educational Equity as It Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Recognizes Key Champions with the Launch of 25 Faces of Jumpstart Campaign

BOSTON, February 28, 2019 — Jumpstart, a national early education organization, is celebrating 25 years of providing language, literacy, and social-emotional programming for preschool children from underserved communities. To kick off the celebration, the organization launched the 25 Faces of Jumpstart campaign, recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions that shaped the growth and advancement of the organization throughout its 25-year history.

What started in 1994 as a pilot tutoring program out of Yale University that paired college students with preschoolers from underserved communities has transformed the lives of more than 123,000 children with the help of more than 50,000 college student and community volunteers. By leveraging partnerships with institutions of higher education, community organizations, Head Start programs, community-based preschools, and school districts, Jumpstart now has programs all across the country in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Evidence-based practices and evaluation have been strong components of Jumpstart’s program from the beginning, and today over two decades of research support the critical impact that early development of literacy, language, and social-emotional skills can have on young children growing up in poverty. A recent study found that 91% of Jumpstart children showed growth on specific language and literacy skills, while results from the Test of Preschool Early Literacy indicate that Jumpstart children are closing the gap and developing language and literacy skills that are important for kindergarten readiness. A recent pilot study also found that Jumpstart children were nearly 2x more likely than those in the normed sample to demonstrate stronger social-emotional skills, another important indicator of school readiness.

Jumpstart also recognizes that in order for our youngest learners to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning, their educators must be well-prepared, trained, and supported in order to succeed and stay in their profession. As a result, throughout the last decade, Jumpstart’s programming has grown and evolved to include multiple aspects of early childhood education from workforce development to advocacy.

“Early education workforce pathways are key aspects of Jumpstart’s work. We can transform classrooms and achieve educational equity by creating pathways for college students to become early education teachers and by providing resources related to workforce development for early childhood educators already in the field,” says Atalaya Sergi, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Programming.

As a deep commitment by state and federal leaders to invest public resources in high-quality early education and the sustainability of the early childhood education workforce is essential, Jumpstart also advocates for legislation that supports these investments and investments in the people it serves.

“I’m delighted to celebrate this important milestone with Jumpstart. Year after year, Jumpstart has continued to make great strides in leveling the playing field in early education and has inspired the next generation of leaders through its student programs,” says National Board Co-chair Kim L. Mitchell. “The work that they are doing is critical to empowering the lives of thousands of individuals — preschoolers, college students, families, and educators — and I am eager to see the organization continue to thrive for years to come.”

“We are inspired by the thousands of college student and community volunteers who build deep and lasting relationships with young children and provide critical programs that have a proven impact on school readiness,” says Naila Bolus, President and CEO. “Many of our volunteers go on to pursue careers as early childhood educators, and all of our volunteers gain valuable skills that better position them to lead in their careers.”

Throughout 2019, in honor of its 25th Anniversary, Jumpstart will be shining a light on those who have played a major role in the organization’s history with 25 Faces of Jumpstart. This campaign celebrates the wide variety of people who have helped shape and grow Jumpstart into what it is today, including the founders of Jumpstart, volunteers, Jumpstart children and their families, higher education partners, and influential donors and supporters.

The 25 Faces of Jumpstart are as follows:

  • Dale Atkins, First Jumpstart Donor and Member of Jumpstart’s National Early Education Council
  • Raymond Buford, Student Volunteer Alumni
  • Eric Carle, Author of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® book The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • David Carmel, Founder
  • Joseph I. Castro, National Board Member and President of California State University, Fresno, a Jumpstart Higher Education Partner
  • Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, representing the congressional district where Jumpstart was founded
  • Tina Fey, Actor, Comedian, Writer, Producer, and Playwright
  • Kamalah Fletcher, Student Volunteer Alumni
  • Emily Haber and Massachusetts Service Alliance, Longest-standing AmeriCorps Partner
  • Chris Hernandez, Student Volunteer Alumni and Employee
  • Vanessa Kirsch, Inaugural National Board Chair
  • Jessica Lazzara, Student Volunteer Alumni and Longest-tenured Employee
  • Aaron Lieberman, Founder
  • Jennifer K. Marrus, Longest-serving Board Member
  • Jordan Meranus, Founder
  • Dianne Morales, Founding National Board Member and Founding Chief Operating Officer
  • State Representative Tram Nguyen, Student Volunteer Alumni
  • Astriz Perez, Child Participant and Student Volunteer Alumni
  • Samantha Perez, Child Participant and Student Volunteer Alumni
  • Patrick Romero, Student Volunteer Alumni
  • Rebecca Weintraub, Founder
  • Sharon Scott-Chandler and Action for Boston Community Development, Longest-standing Program Partner
  • Chris Stadler, National Board Co-chair
  • Jennifer Waldron, Donor and Former Employee, Local Advisory Board Member
  • Rob Waldron, Donor and Former Chief Executive Officer

“While it was difficult to narrow the list of Jumpstart champions to just 25 Faces, we are eager to celebrate them and all those they represent who have shared our passion for closing the opportunity gap and putting children first. We are looking forward to continuing to make an impact on the lives of children and their communities for the next 25 years,” shares Bolus.

Learn more about Jumpstart’s 25-year history and the Founder’s profile story here.



Jumpstart is a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. Jumpstart provides language, literacy, and social-emotional programming for preschool children from underserved communities and promotes quality early learning for all children. Jumpstart is a proud member of the AmeriCorps service network. Learn more at jstart.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @Jumpstartkids.

Media Contact

Desirae Jones
Desirae Jones Co.

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