“Jumpstart exemplifies our society’s commitment to equity in early childhood education… Every child should have access to language, literacy, and social-emotional programming.”
Throughout 2019, in honor of Jumpstart’s 25th Anniversary, we will be highlighting 25 Faces of Jumpstart. This campaign celebrates the wide variety of people who have played a major role in Jumpstart’s history — our founders, volunteers from Jumpstart’s past, Jumpstart children and their families, influential donors and supporters, and more. We cannot wait to share their stories with you — how they helped shape and grow Jumpstart into what it is today, the impact that Jumpstart has had on their own lives, and their vision for the next 25 years of Jumpstart.
In 1993, Rosa DeLauro was the United States Representative for the Third District of Connecticut — a role she continues to hold today — and she was the perfect person to approach to support the newly forming early education organization in New Haven. During her nearly 30-year tenure in Congress, Rosa has been instrumental in advancing legislation that supports children and families and ensures access to quality education for all. “As Chair of the House Appropriations Committee that funds the Department of Education,” Rosa said, “I will never stop fighting for equity in education—especially for our youngsters.”
Rosa became a champion for Jumpstart very early on. “Jumpstart exemplifies our society’s commitment to equity in early childhood education. This community-based organization continues to uphold the ideals of early childhood education programs by facilitating the participation of more than 50,000 college students over the last 25 years as they prepare preschoolers for kindergarten. Every child should have access to language, literacy, and social-emotional programming.”
Rosa’s partnership strengthened Jumpstart’s ability to make an impact for young children across the country — through policies, legislation, and continued and increased funding. “I am proud to stand with such an impactful organization whose origins are ingrained in Connecticut’s Third District. Since its beginnings, I was inspired to get involved with Jumpstart, an organization that demonstrates true commitment to our children.”
Legislation that supports Jumpstart’s efforts is critical to the effectiveness of the work the organization is doing year after year, and the legislation Rosa sponsors resonates with families and Jumpstart communities across the nation. She is a member of 62 House caucus groups, including co-founding and serving as the co-chair of the Congressional Baby Caucus. As the Caucus’s co-chair, Rosa advocates for affordable and enriching early learning opportunities, pushing for increased funding for programs like Head Start, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Child Care Development Block Grants.
“To this day, Jumpstart continues to serve as an inspiration for kindergarten readiness nationwide, and its support is vital to helping our next generation.”
Rosa often takes existing legislation a step further, as she did when she introduced the DeLauro amendment to the School Readiness Act. This amendment allowed Head Start centers to partner with institutions of higher education and community-based organizations, like Jumpstart, to engage college students as mentors and reading coaches to preschool children. This was a vital boost for Jumpstart and an accomplishment Rosa describes as a proud moment in her career. She continues to foster this partnership; just this year, Rosa was integral in pushing forward a $1.5 billion increase in funding in the Education Appropriations bill for the Head Start program.
In word and deed, Rosa stands firmly in her belief that “investing in our children is an investment in our future — and they deserve nothing less.” This stance also typifies her ongoing support for Jumpstart. During her visits with Jumpstart students — reading books to young children and speaking at their graduation ceremonies — Rosa has seen first-hand how Jumpstart helps to close opportunity gaps. “To this day, Jumpstart continues to serve as an inspiration for kindergarten readiness nationwide, and its support is vital to helping our next generation.” She is also a proud supporter of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®, the world’s largest shared reading experience, which she believes is instrumental in bringing students, families, and schools together to combat inequality and promote literacy for preschoolers.
Since Jumpstart’s inception, Rosa has been an ally and an important partner in Congress who prioritizes the needs of children, college students, and communities Jumpstart serves. Through her enduring partnership and support, Rosa has ensured a solid foundation for Jumpstart’s next 25 years of service.
Some quotes have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.