Jump Start’s first volunteers were retired teachers, and while the focus of the program remains on retirees, we welcome individuals of all ages and backgrounds. However, most IYC locations do require that volunteers be 21 or older, so be sure to check with your location if you have questions about or want to double check your eligibility.
Our current tutors include homemakers, clergy, college students, business people, educators, social workers, and retirees. A background in education is not required, as training will be provided. The most important attribiutes to have are to be flexible, non-judgemental and committed to the student and the concept that positive change is a reachable goal. By giving one and a half hours per week of your time, you can help prepare youth for their eventual return to society.
A study done by the National Center for State Courts and the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities shows the positive impact that tutoring can have. In the study, 970 juvenile offenders were randomly assigned to two equal-size groups: a study group whose members received tutoring services and a controlled group whose members did not. Researchers found that with 55-60 hours of tutoring the incidence for delinquent acts was significantly reduced. When tutoring increased to 100 hours, delinquency reduced to zero.
The Jump Start program cannot solve the myriad problems faced by at-risk youth. What you as a volunteer can do is help to lower the rate of recidivism among incarcerated youth through tutoring in literacy and life skills, and bringing both help and hope to them through mentoring.