Dominican and Jumpstart: An early road to success

By Bianca Cahue

February 26, 2014

A child’s early years of learning are the core foundation for their academic journey ahead and every child in the United States deserves the chance to succeed. However, over the years, several professional studies have shown that children from low-income neighborhoods are at a greater risk of school failure.

At Dominican, several undergraduate students participate in Jumpstart, a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students to help teach preschool children in classrooms in low-income neighborhoods.  

Jumpstart strives to give young children an early opportunity to start on the path to success and achievement in education, with the idea in mind that if you give a child the tools to succeed early in life, the likelihood that they will remain on a strong educational path will be greater. Jumpstart’s goal in their emerging markets is to expand at urban universities including DePaul, Loyola and Northwestern.  

Ben Mueller, the site manager for Jumpstart at Dominican, was recruited from his university to join the team, inspiring him to take on the lead of creating partnerships with preschools including Oscar DePriest Elementary School in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.

“It is so awesome observing my team grow on a professional level,” Mueller said. “The exposure and skills they will have are so beneficial for their future.”

Since 1993, Jumpstart has trained 28,000 college students to help give preschool children the opportunity to get a “jumpstart” on their early years of academic development.

Freshman Sarah Tinoco has been a part of the Jumpstart team since August and finds great personal benefits of being on the team.

“Not only do you get 300 community service hours at the end of the year, but you develop a relationship with these children and watch them grow academically,” Tinoco said.

Freshman Stephanie Guaman agrees, explaining she joined the group not only to gain valuable work experience but also truly make a difference in the life of a child.

“I joined Jumpstart so I could have the chance to work with younger students and know that I’ve somehow prepared them to go on to kindergarten with basic writing, reading and spelling skills,” Guaman said. “I joined Jumpstart because I wanted to know I was making a difference in a child’s life if only two days out of the week. It would give me the chance to gain experience in working with children for my education major.”

The Jumpstart curriculum helps children develop and gain a better grasp for language and improves the literacy skills needed for kindergarten future success.

Any student interested in joining the Jumpstart program is encouraged to contact Mueller by visiting his office in the Academic Enrichment Center located in the lower level of Parmer Hall or contacting him at bmueller@dom.edu.