HU Students Jump at a Chance to Give Back

Howard University’s lower quadrangle was filled withhundreds of people last Friday as Howard University students hostedJumpstart for a Day 2004. Jumpstart for a Day is an annual learningfair for DC area preschool, pre-kindergarten and kindergartenstudents, that allow them to work one-on-one with college students.Students from Seaton Elementary, Bruce Monroe Elementary, theHoward University Early Learning Center and the Howard UniversityHospital Child Care Center attended the event.

Various Howard University studentorganizations teamed up to coordinate and manage this two houraffair. “This has been one of the best turnouts from [campus]organizations. Its seems like everything was intended to work greatand it did,” said Chequan Lewis, junior political science andeconomics major student.

Other organizations that were on hand to helpout were Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Inc., ZetaPhi Beta Inc., Phi Sigma Pi, Alpha Nu Omega, Alpha Phi Omega, andSigma Alpha Iota.

Sigma Alpha Iota International MusicFraternity contributed their talents by teaching the kids how tomake their own percussion instruments using bird seeds and sodabottles. They also talked to the kids about different musicalinstruments and allowed them to enjoy a performance by a saxophoneplayer.

The fair incorporated 27 learning stationsthat allowed the 3-5 year olds engage in educational yet enjoyableactivities. “Many of the stations were designed to stimulate[the children’s] minds while others were more fitnessoriented,” said Laurie Taylor, public relations majorstudent.  Some of the stations included Japanese letterwriting, Jazzercise, The Magic Carpet: Storytelling, face painting,Mathmanimals, Moonbounce and When I Grow Up.

At various stations the students were able toreceive gifts bags and packets. Members of the School of Dentistrywere on hand to give out health bags to the students. The bagsincluded a toothbrush, floss, informational sheets, stickers anddental coloring books.  “We are promoting oral andnutritional awareness by teaching the kids the fundamentals of howto take care of their teeth as far as oral hygiene and foodnutrition,” said Keysra Galloway, D.D.S.

Metropolitan Police and DC Fire Departmentmembers also participated in this event. The kids were able to toura police car and fire truck and learn how to operate the equipmentsuch as the police siren and computer equipment. “I thoughtthis was a very interesting experience for the kids. They got apositive image of the police and what we do as officers. Hopefullythis will influence some of them to become policemen andpolicewomen,” said Officer Michael Minor, of MetropolitanPolice 3rd District. The police officers and firemenalso instructed the students on what to do in emergency situationsand when to call 911.

“We have Jumpstart students that workwith the [Howard University] Early Learning Program as studentworkers to provide enrichment to some of our students. This was anopportunity for all of our students to get involved,” saidTheresa Maxie, teacher at the Howard University Early LearningProgram. Currently, 31 Howard students work as corps members on aweekly basis at Seaton Elementary, Bruce Monroe, and the HowardUniversity Early Learning Center.

Jumpstart operates in 18 states and providesservices to over 6,000 children. A national early literacy program,Jumpstart works toward preparing students for educational successprior to entering the traditional classroom setting.  Itsnational sponsors include AmeriCorps, American Eagle Outfitters,Learn and Serve America, Pearson and Starbucks.  For moreinformation on how to get involved with Jumpstart, visit theirwebsite at www.jstart.org.