The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Jumping to make a difference

In making a mark on this world, one can also make a difference in someone’s life. Ashley Bhuanlall, a senior public relations major, is one of those people.

This past year, Bhuanlall joined Jumpstart at St. John’s University as a core member.

Jumpstart is a program that serves in lower income neighborhoods, assisting children ranging from ages three to five to  prepare for kindergarten. “The main objective of Jumpstart is to close the kindergarten readiness gap that is prominent in these areas,” Bhuanlall said.

Jumpstart members are placed in groups of five to seven people and go to different low income preschools twice a week to teach reading, writing and science to students.

“We focus on bringing awareness, comprehension and alphabet knowledge to these kids,” Shanaz Ali, the Team Leader for Bhhuanlall’s group, said.

Jumpstart members various types of activities with the children, such as playing games, painting and reading aloud.

“I joined Jumpstart to make a difference in children’s lives. We’re there to lessen the kindergarten readiness gap by teaching the kids the skills they need to be ready for school as well as to be confident and aware,” Bhuanlall said.

Bhuanlall’s primary focuses during her sessions with the children are reading and writing.

There are units to go over that concentrate on handwriting, phonemic awareness, comprehension and the alphabet. She makes practice booklets for the children to practice their penmanship as well.

“I realize now that teaching is very rewarding and a great profession to go into,” Bhuanlall added. “It will definitely be a challenge if I decide to pursue a career in education, but I know that it will be worth it in the end.”

In addition, to Jumpstart, Bhuanlall is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, TARA Club and the Women Gender Studies Club on campus.

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