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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI hosts ‘Jumpstart For A Day’

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URI student tutors celebrate success with preschool partners

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 11, 2005 -- Thirty-six preschool children and 41 Jumpstart University of Rhode Island student AmeriCorps members who participate in the Jumpstart program celebrated their year together earlier this month.

Face painting, singing, arts and crafts, reading, and learning stations were part of the fun agenda. Learning stations, based on several different children’s books, were also set up, incorporating literacy while still allowing children to participate in activities, such as making their own play dough.

“Jumpstart For A Day” gave the 3-to-5-year-olds who attended the CANE Child Development Center and A Place to Grow Child Care Center in Wakefield, and the South County Community Action Head Start in Westerly a chance to play and learn while their families got a chance to see Jumpstart URI Corps tutors interact with their partner children.

“We wanted to thank everyone for participating in the program and welcome the kids to the University,” said Lynne Finnegan, URI’s Jumpstart site manager.

The Jumpstart program, sponsored by the Feinstein Center for Service Learning, gives Jumpstart URI Corps tutors the opportunity to work one-on-one with children to further develop their language, literacy, and social skills before entering kindergarten.

“Jumpstart is designed to give preschoolers a ‘jumpstart’ on their education so that when they enter kindergarten, they are prepared to learn,” said Finnegan.

“This was a warm, fun day where kids from all of the sites get a chance to meet each other and we can see how the program is impacting our community,” said Finnegan.

The University of Rhode Island was among 13 institutions selected from more than 100 applicants to become a Jumpstart site in fall 2003. In addition to working with the children, Jumpstart URI Corps tutors earn credit or work study hours, and also receive a $1,000 AmeriCorps education award to use toward their education when they complete the yearlong program.

Jumpstart recruits and trains URI students from all majors and academic years to serve as part-time AmeriCorps members. Members make a two-semester (fall and spring) commitment and work 10 to 12 hours each week as a tutor.

For more information about “Jumpstart For A Day” or the Jumpstart program, contact Lynne Finnegan at 401-874-2090.

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Jumpstart URI Corps tutor Sara Addis, a freshman, helps Devon Libutti of North Kingstown, 5, string beads at the “Jumpstart for a Day” celebration. URI News Bureau Photo by Michael Salerno.