Jump into Early Education with Jumpstart

When there are so many different offices tucked away on the tenth floor of Walker, a floor only accessible by two of the three elevators, it’s easy to overlook some of the departments and their many achievements.

One of these offices is Jumpstart, a national organization that partners with local preschools by sending college students to provide young children with more attention that they need. This year, Emerson’s division of Jumpstart has a new site manager, an Emerson College class of 2012 graduate, Ruben Raskin.

In the words of Raskin, “Jumpstart is a national nonprofit organization that is committed to the vision that every child enters Kindergarten prepared to succeed. And the way that Jumpstart achieves their vision is by empowering college students to volunteer their time to serve in low income classrooms.”

As the site manager, Raskin “wears a lot of different hats.” He’s responsible for recruitment for the Emerson site and he also connects preschools with the Jumpstart national office.

“One of the goals of the students being in the schools is reducing the student-teacher ratios. So the more core members that we have, the more individual attention each student gets and then the greater the impact of the work that we do,” he said.

Raskin was a VMA major when he attended Emerson College, but doing Jumpstart in his junior year was one of the driving forces that got him into early childhood education. After Jumpstart he applied to City Year, another AmeriCorps program. He knew he wanted to be involved in the classroom so he did a teacher training course at Shady Hill School in Boston. He came away from this program with his teacher’s certification and then worked on MIT’s campus at the preschool for the children of faculty and staff.

“After doing that for a few years, I had always known in the back of my mind that being a site manager was something that I was excited about. When I did [Jumpstart] at Emerson I really liked my site manager. She was really inspiring and I wanted the chance to do that for current college students and make them feel motivated and appreciated in the same ways that I was.”

When asked about adjusting to his new role, Raskin seemed to sum up Jumpstart pretty well:

“Only having been on campus for a couple of weeks, I feel really grateful and indebted to the past core members and previous team members who have all stepped up to help orient me to the role. Their passion and enthusiasm for the organization is really contagious.”

Even though the school year is already under way, Jumpstart is still looking for people to join the organization. It’s not too late to get involved!

Ruben Raskin is the Jumpstart site manager at Emerson College. He is a Jumpstart and Emerson alum and dedicated to national service.

Lauren Lopez