By Ally Wright

A new initiative from Jumpstart seeks to tap into a growing sect of potential volunteers: retirees. Jumpstart Atlanta Community Corps program is calling all adults who want to volunteer their time and make a difference in their community.

The Jumpstart organization is designed to better prepare preschoolers from low-income neighborhoods to compete and succeed in school, from day one of kindergarten to college and beyond. Corps members receive training on how to improve children’s language and literacy skills, building their confidence as they embark on their journey through school.

The majority of Jumpstart Corps members have always been college students, but in the past few years the nationwide organization has realized the untapped population of older generations, those with more flexible schedules and unused energy. The Community Corps has had success in Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. This past fall it was launched in Atlanta. Jumpstart works to strengthen communities not only by helping children; the experience is invaluable for its volunteers as well.

The Community Corps invites adults of all ages to become a part of a team of people dedicated to improving their own communities. The commitment is 200 to 300 hours over the course of one school year, about eight to 12 hours a week, with one to five of those involving working in a preschool classroom, assisting the teacher. According to Jumpstart’s website, over 55 percent of members return for multiple years. Last year, over 62 percent of Community Corps members were over the age of 65, but anyone is welcome. All you need is a little time and energy, and an interest in becoming part of a movement to improve Atlanta.

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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.