UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Jumpstart Brings Success

While many people at UMass Boston may have heard of Jumpstart, or seen their signs around campus, some may not be aware of what this program is and how it involves UMB students. Emphasizing family involvement and school success, Jumpstart, a non-profit organization run by AmeriCorps, “trains and supports college students” in becoming teachers through work with preschool children, aiming “towards the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.”

Jumpstart Boston is located at 93 Summer Street, Boston. Opened in 1994, one of the program’s goals for this year is to strengthen its relationship with UMB. This alliance helps the university to meet the Department of Education’s requirement to spend seven percent of Federal Work-Study on community service. It also provides an opportunity for positive representation of UMB in the Boston community and enhances students’ academic work with practical work experience, leadership development, as well as financial assistance. Five UMB students are currently participating in this initiative.

One UMB graduate who has found success in Jumpstart is Joél Mora. Born in Peru, Joél moved to the United States 21 years ago with his mother. “She is such a hard worker and a motivator. She was always involved in my education, never letting me settle or be content.” In the absence of Joél’s father, his grandfather was his male role model, impressing upon Joél the importance of dedication and strong work ethic. From this background, Joél emerged an energetic and dependable man. While matriculating, he has balanced 10 hours a week at Jumpstart, an active role in his fraternity, Psi Lambda Phi, and a full time job at the Boston World Trade Center.

This summer, Joél gave up his job at the World Trade Center to work full-time with Jumpstart. He was assigned to Justin, a shy boy who preferred to spend time with his sister and teacher rather than Joél. Joél’s fluency in Spanish was instantly useful in relating to Justin, because the boy’s family is from the Dominican Republic. Coupled with persistence, learned from his mother and grandfather, and his belief in community service, Joél soon formed a bond with Justin.

Joél described, “Justin came around and opened up. The first time Justin came to circle time, he came and sat in my lap. He participated in all the activities. When he was done, he was so happy that he ran up to me, gave me a kiss, and told me that he loved me. That was definitely a memorable moment for me.”

Jenn Gilbert, Joél’s Program Coordinator has nothing but praises for Joél. “Joél is a great Corps member. He has been incredibly patient and calm with Justin as well as his team. He is someone who is respected for his ability to have fun and be silly, but is also very mature and knows when is the time to be serious and work.”

Joél Mora illustrates that Jumpstart is a rewarding, enriching program for both children and staff. Student positions are full-time, requiring a one-year commitment of 600 hours broken down into 300 during the school year and 300 during the summer, or part-time, requiring 300 hours during the school year. Jumpstart is still accepting applications for this fall. Students who would like to know how to get involved in this program can access

Jumpstart’s web site at www.jstart.org or contact Natasha Onken in the Student Housing and Employment Office on the second floor of the Administration building.