Jumpstart’s September Newsflash

Dear Jumpstart,

September always marks a time of new beginnings as our Corps Members start their school year, return to classrooms, and begin working with our youngest learners. For Jumpstart, this month brought an exciting announcement of a new beginning for us as an organization – On behalf of the Jumpstart National Board of Directors, I am thrilled to announce that Crystal Rountree, current Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue and Development Officer at Teach For America, has been appointed as the new and incoming Chief Executive Officer of Jumpstart starting in January 2024! As shared earlier this year, I will be stepping down in December after 12 years as CEO and as I prepare to move on, I am elated by this thoughtful and incredible choice for the future of Jumpstart.

This month also marked the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and we are celebrating by reading books that uplift the cultures and voices of authors, characters, and their ancestors from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain. Check out our book recommendations today!

Read on below to check out our inspiring Alumni stories of Jumpstart’s impact, and join Jumpstart in taking action today against the proposed cuts to AmeriCorps funding in the 2024 Federal Budget.

I hope you enjoy learning about the work going on at Jumpstart. We are grateful to have you as part of our Jumpstart community.

-Naila Bolus, CEO

Program and Policy Updates


Jumpstart recently celebrated Site Managers of the Year, Dara Starkman, Site Manager at Simmons University, and Wilmary Flores, Site Manager at Merrimack College. Both Dara and Wilmary have shown incredible commitment to Jumpstart, their Corps members, and the children they serve, and their amazing accomplishments were celebrated with the whole Jumpstart network in August.


Action Alert📢

Jumpstart needs your help to avoid cuts to vital programs in the 2024 Federal Budget. Please join us and ACT NOW to protect these programs that support Jumpstart’s work to ensure every child is prepared to thrive in kindergarten. Proposed cuts to the budget by the U.S. House of Representatives include:

  • 50% funding cut to AmeriCorps (which is crucial support for our Jumpstart Corps Members) and eliminating all funding for AmeriCorps Education Awards.
  • Eliminating the entire Federal Work-Study Program! This lifeline for millions of college students, assisting them with books, bills, and day-to-day expenses, hangs in the balance.
  • A $750 million cut to Head Start funding for the next fiscal year. Approximately 80,000 children could lose access to Head Start and Early Head Start, adversely affecting their educational foundation and access to ECE.

Your voice matters. Please join Jumpstart and urge Congress to preserve these crucial programs by easily sending messages to your representatives and taking action today.

Read for the Record

It is officially less than ONE MONTH until Jumpstart’s 18th Annual Read for the Record Day! On October 26th, 2023, over 2 million people will come together to read With Lots of Love, written by Jenny Torres Sanchez and illustrated by Andrè Ceolin. We kicked off our Read for the Record celebrations in Broward County, Florida for the Annual Conference of Children’s Literature last week. The Jumpstart team was joined by the author, Jenny Torres Sanchez, who did a special reading of With Lots of Love to young readers at Stephen Foster Elementary School in Broward. Jenny participated in a panel alongside Jumpstart CEO Naila Bolus, as they spoke about the history of Read for the Record, Jenny’s journey in being selected as this year’s featured author, her inspiration for With Lots of Love, and more.

Alumni Spotlight

This week, Jumpstart hosted a special JumpSTORY event celebrating our supporters and the impact their partnership has had on early care and education. JumpSTORY featured incredible Corps Member alumni storytellers, as well as a number of celebrity guests, including Grammy and Academy Award-winning producer and songwriter, Mark Ronson, and Curtis Martin, Retired Running Back for the New York Jets (Pro Football Hall of Fame 2012), as they discussed their journeys of mentorship, the power of stories and how to help others discover their own narratives. Read on to see some of our Alumni stories below:

“At 18 years old, the course of my life changed – all because of a curious 3 year old boy. This little boy not only made me feel like I had a purpose during a time in my life when I was trying to figure out what mine was, but made me realize that purpose existed in my own community. He’s the one that sparked in me the need to become an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. That’s the power of mentorship, and that’s what Jumpstart is all about.” — Christa Hunter

“I joined a fraternity during my freshman year of college. My best memories weren’t with my fraternity brothers, but in a preschool classroom, running around and acting out Rabbits and Raindrops with children who made me realize that education was my life’s passion. That’s the real beauty of the Corps Members program: everyone involved – kids, students, teachers and parents alike – is impacted by the power of learning and connection.” — Nicolas Adams

“The experience with Jumpstart served as a catalyst, igniting a passion within me to advocate not only for myself but also for the children I work with. This drive became even more profound given my multicultural background, where my own voice had often been marginalized. It provided me with a profound understanding of advocacy as a means to ensure that every voice, including my own, those of the children, fellow educators, parents, and more, is not only heard but genuinely valued. This transformative experience underscored the significance of harnessing our collective voices to drive change and advocate for policies that place the well-being of all children at the forefront.” — Kicara Reynolds

To learn more and see images from JumpSTORY, check out the blog post here!

Also, stay tuned for exciting news about Jumpstart’s Alumni Advisory Council!

Work With Us

We invite you to share the below opportunities with your networks and we welcome your referrals!

Jumpstart is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and we encourage candidates to demonstrate an ongoing commitment and interest in social justice or DEI work.  To learn more about Jumpstart’s current employment opportunities, visit us at Careers – Jumpstart.

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

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