Campus: Sonoma State University -- November 15, 1999


A Jump Start for Volunteers

They've been doing it now for more than five years. Every year at Thanksgiving, students from Sonoma State University's community service program, JUMP, team up to cook Thanksgiving meals for families at a local residential shelter. And on November 18 this year, JUMP volunteers will once again jump start the Holiday Season for families that are in need.

JUMP (Join Us Making Progress) has been helping people since 1994. In a true grass roots spirit, JUMP was founded by the efforts of students. Heather Howard, a 1996 political science graduate with a master's in public administration, founded JUMP as an undergraduate and today is the program coordinator.

Howard is particularly pleased with the success of the Thanksgiving dinner event. "It's an opportunity for our students to see that there are people out in the community who may not have a Thanksgiving meal. We provide not just a warm meal, but a warm and friendly face." Each year, anywhere from 120 to 150 people benefit from the service.

JUMP works hard to market its volunteer opportunities to SSU's student body. According to Howard, JUMP volunteers have made presentations to several of the freshmen seminar classes. "We try to connect with students early on. We mail out fliers to all the student clubs and post cards to every member of the residential community." Howard says that most of the 90 volunteers who participated in an event this weekend at San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church are members of the campus community, and many are first-year students.

At the event at Glide Memorial, JUMP volunteers work in the church's kitchen, helping to make more than 3,000 bag lunches that are distributed each Sunday to the homeless in San Francisco.

JUMP is busy at all times of the year. For the "Adopt a Grandparent Program," more than 50 JUMP volunteers work with local convalescent homes, where they make weekly visits to conduct programs. There are 30 volunteers working as tutors for students at Kawana Elementary School in Santa Rosa. And for their Soup Program, JUMP purchases and cooks food for a dinner once a month at The Family Support Center in Santa Rosa.

Other programs in which JUMP volunteers participate include "Hands Across the County," and the National "Make-a-Difference" Day.

JUMP is a student supported community service program of the Associated Students and co-sponsored by the Student Union. For information, call 707, 664-4277.



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