BOSTON — While many Boston-area college students likely spent Nov. 1 supporting the Boston Bruins as they faced the Dallas Stars at TD Banknorth Garden, one group decided to support a different kind of cause. Throughout that night’s game, 20 student volunteers raised money and awareness for Jumpstart, a national early childhood education organization that helps at-risk preschool students gain language, literacy and social skills to succeed in future schooling.
“The Boston Bruins Foundation has been a supporter of Jumpstart and Jumpstart’s Read for the Record for the past three years,” said Mark Green, director of development for Jumpstart’s northeast region. “We are in constant contact with them about ways that we can partner to support their work as well as our work. Because of their recent participation in Read for the Record on Oct. 2, 2008, they wanted to do something with us.”Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign is a national project organized to raise awareness of the importance of preparing children to read at an early age by creating a large scale shared reading experience. Once a year, adults across the country participate in the program by reading to children throughout the designated day.
The volunteers, who work as Jumpstart Corps Members at various schools including Tufts, Emerson and Suffolk, spent the evening selling tickets for the 50/50 Raffle for which half of the money pooled would go to the winning ticket and half would go to that nights’ charity. By the end of the third period of the game when the raffle closed, just over $3,000 had been raised for Jumpstart.
“It was so rewarding to be helping out and having so much fun at the same time,” said Bethany Gamble, a freshman and first-year Corps Member at Suffolk University. Once Gamble and her fellow volunteers had finished their work they were invited to watch the last period of the game from the 9th floor press boxes where they enjoyed the Bruins 5-1 win over the Stars.
“I think it was a great experience for the average hockey fan,” said Matt Preston, a Bruins fan who attended the game. “Had it not been for Jumpstart’s partnership with the Bruins, most of us would not know about such a worthy cause. I think it is a great program for the kids and something I would gladly support. I am glad I got to learn about it this evening.”
The money raised will be put toward general operations for Jumpstart’s northeast region and fundraising efforts will continue throughout the year to support Jumpstart and early childhood education. For more information about Jumpstart or The Boston Bruins Foundation, visit their Web sites.