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 and AMERICORPS 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 serve." JUMPSTART in the NORTHEAST 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) PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS 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. ABOUT JUMPSTART 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 www.jstart.org.