NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH)– When it comes to education, it’s so important to make sure children don’t fall behind early.
“The earlier we reach children, the more impactful we can be in helping to put them on the path to success,” said Kerry Osborne, Jumpstart Tri-State Executive Director.
And, thanks to four local foundations, an organization that does just that has started in New Britain.
“We think that there’s certainly a need for the Jumpstart program here in New Britain, in the community, and we also believe that at C.C.S.U., that there are college students that are looking to give back to the community,” said Kyle Pilon, Jumpstart Site Manager, New Britain
“Jumpstart” began two decades ago at Yale. Volunteer college students mentor young children from low-income families in literacy skills, to help bridge the achievement gap. New Britain is Jumpstart’s fourth community in Connecticut.
“If we can reach children between the ages of three and five, we can really make sure that they are ready to go in to kindergarten, and they’ll have the pre-reading skills that they need,” Kerry Osborne, Jumpstart Tri-State Executive Director
Participants say it’s a toss-up whether the college mentors or the little ones get the most benefit; certainly a mutual exchange.
“These children come from very different homes in the society, and just seeing them be able to strive shows me that there’s such great ambition in these young children,” said Jennifer Zachary, CCSU Senior, Jumpstart Volunteer
Even with volunteer mentors the New Britain edition of Jumpstart wouldn’t be possible without the help it’s getting from the Liberty Bank Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, the Fund for Greater Hartford, and the Farmington Bank Foundation.
“If you want to invest your dollars wisely, then invest it in early childhood education because the more that you give to children on the early end, the better outcomes they will have as they get older,” said Betty Sugerman Weintraub, Liberty Bank Foundation.