AmeriCorps Budget Cuts Reduce Critical Education for Children

Funding Cuts Mean Thousands of Children Will Not Receive Jumpstart's

Vital Early Education Program

Jun 23, 2003, 01:00 ET from Jumpstart

    BOSTON, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- AmeriCorps has announced a 60 percent
 reduction in funding that will reduce its ranks from 67,000 volunteers to
 28,000, effectively laying off people who want to volunteer their service to
 America. Jumpstart, the largest part-time AmeriCorps program, received serious
 cuts even though President Bush has visited with and hailed Jumpstart Corps
 members as "heroes" for their full-year commitment as 1:1 academic mentors.
     Jumpstart has received more than $8 million in AmeriCorps funding since
 1996; however, according to AmeriCorps decisions, Jumpstart is faced with a 78
 percent reduction in funding, which would diminish its ranks from 1,200
 members to fewer than 300 members serving in 2003-2004. Jumpstart Corps
 members help preschool children build pre-reading and language skills that are
 vital to success in school and in life. If the current funding dispute is not
 addressed, Jumpstart may cease working in up to 80 of its current 120
 preschools, leaving thousands of preschool children from low-income
 communities across the country without its services.
     "This could be a tragedy for our nation's youngest children," said Rob
 Waldron, president and CEO of Jumpstart. "Reduced Jumpstart funding means that
 1,000+ preschool children will enter school unprepared to succeed, and a
 generation of smart, energetic college students will be denied the opportunity
 to educate them. Taxpayers will be left paying the price of a too-little,
 too-late education policy for preschool children, and a thousand students
 willing to mentor a child will be left with no training and no place to
     Jumpstart has a strong presence in the northeast, including programs in
 the following cities:
     *     Boston, MA (4 programs)       *    Brooklyn, NY
     *     Bridgewater, MA               *    Syracuse, NY
     *     Bridgeport, CT                *    Washington, DC
     *     New Haven, CT                 *    Baltimore, MD
     *     Geneva, NY                    *    Pittsburgh, PA
     *     New York, NY (2 programs)
     When Congress created AmeriCorps, it required that private funds match
 federal funds. Jumpstart receives $4 for every $1 granted by AmeriCorps and
 has generated more than $10 million in corporate commitments from civic-minded
 companies such as Starbucks, Pearson Education, American Eagle Outfitters,
 Sodexho, and Hale and Dorr. Not only do these organizations provide financial
 and in-kind support, their employees also volunteer, providing thousands of
 hours of service to people in need. Reduced AmeriCorps funding means reduced
 levels of private support as well.
     Jumpstart is a national organization that engages young people to work
 toward the day every American child enters school prepared to succeed.
 Jumpstart recruits, trains, and supports college students to work 1:1 with
 children in Head Start and other early childhood education programs. Jumpstart
 currently engages 1,200 college students who serve more than 4,500 children,
 in 15 states, and supports 120 early learning centers. For more information,
 visit the Jumpstart Web site at

SOURCE Jumpstart