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JUMPSTART TRAINING -- Southeastern Louisiana University students LaKeisha Johnson of Gonzales and Kassi Guillot of Hanville practice reading aloud to each other during a Jumpstart training session. As Jumpstart corps members, the students will be partnered one-on-one with children at Southeastern and Hammond Head Start and Midway Elementary.
JUMPSTART TRAINING UNDERWAY FOR 2002-2003
HAMMOND -- Southeastern Louisiana University’s Jumpstart Corps is in training for the 2002-2003 school year.
For the next two weeks, approximately 40 Southeastern students who have volunteered for the national school readiness program will meet four days a week to learn how to mentor the young children with whom they will be partnered at Southeastern and Hammond Head Start Programs and Midway Elementary School in Natalbany.
Beginning in late October, the corps members will go into the classrooms of these Jumpstart partners to work one-on-one with the programs’ 3-5 year old children. The corps members will commit to spend at least 11 hours a week reading stories, singing songs and playing games that support the children's school readiness.
Southeastern Jumpstart Site Manager Vaunne Blossman-Hand said last year -- Southeastern Jumpstart’s first year -- 31 corps members performed 12,000 hours of service at Hammond and Southeastern Head Start programs.
With eight of last year’s corps members returning for the 2002-2003 academic year, Blossman-Hand’s goal is to recruit a total of 46 Jumpstart members. The members will be divided into five teams headed by team leaders Jamie Breaux, Lisa Delone, Nicole Daigre, Johnny Mezaraups and Shahidah Rahman. In return for their service, the Jumpstart members will earn $1,000 to $1,250 in educational awards and up to $6.30 an hour while working in the program.
Two teams each will be assigned to Hammond and Southeastern Head Start and one to Midway Elementary. Students will begin observing in classrooms on Oct. 8 and begin working one-on-one with their young students on Oct. 28.
Lakeisha Johnson, a junior finance major from Gonzales is one of the eight returning corps members from last year. She said the reward of “being with the kids” drew her back to Jumpstart for the 2002-2003 school year.
Team leader Nicole Daigre of Slidell, a sophomore planning on a career in dental hygiene, said she is looking forward to “making a difference in children’s lives.”
“Jumpstart will give me extra exposure in the classroom,” said junior elementary education major Jenny Saing of Ponchatoula. “I really want to know how to teach children to read and that’s what this program is all about.”
“I just love kids,” said Tansey Henry, a junior nursing major from Gonzales. “This is the best job on campus, I think.”
Jumpstart is a national organization that engages young people in service to work toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Jumpstart focuses on building school success for young children by developing their early language, literacy, and social skills; encouraging strong family involvement to help support children’s learning; and training college students to be future teachers and leaders in early childhood education.
Southeastern Jumpstart students become AmeriCorps members and pledge a minimum of 300 hours of service for the 2002-2003 academic year for a $1,000 education award. There are also 10 spots available for 525 hours of service extending into the summer for a $1,250 education award. In addition to the education award dispersed at the end of the term of service, students who qualify for federal work-study can earn up to $6.30 an hour while working in the program.
Jumpstart positions are still open. Students interested in applying may visit www.jstart.org/apply, or contact Vaunne Blossman-Hand at (985) 549-5273.