On May 7, Ethan Peritz, A13, delivered a speech at Jumpstart’s Scribbles to Novels, a fundraiser promoting the importance of literacy and and the power of written word. In his address, he details his three years of experience with Jumpstart, as well as the important lessons that he has learned by virtue of working with the educational nonprofit.
Jumpstart is the only national supplemental program that uses the power of community and adult-child relationships to help children from low-income neighborhoods learn the important language and literacy skills needed to succeed in both academics and the everyday. The Tufts chapter of Jumpstart is operated out of Tisch College, and works with preschool children in Somerville and Chinatown. Within the short three years Ethan worked with Jumpstart, he was able to bring the Tufts Jumpstart team back to Chinatown for the first time in ten years. What’s more is that he was so successful in redeveloping this expansion that Tufts will be bringing a new team there this coming fall.
Recounting his initial experience with the program, Ethan describes how his first student spat in his face when he asked him to discuss the book they were given to read. Unfazed, Ethan later discovered that his student suffered from PTSD due to the 2008 Haitian earthquake, and realized that he needed to figure out a way for the two to connect on a deeper level. The winning approach: beat-boxing.
Ethan recalls, “I [first] entered Jumpstart because I was ‘good with kids.’ I stayed because I actually connected with one. I learned that the core of teaching is creating a context, a context for these kids to take responsibility for their own learning – from going from being children to being students. That’s what Jumpstart does, and that’s what I’m going to do my entire life.”
Check out Ethan’s speech in the video below: