MSU-Meridian, Meridian schools seek volunteers for literacy program

MSU-Meridian, Meridian schools seek volunteers for literacy programContact: Lisa Sollie

The Meridian Public School District and MSU-Meridian are looking for volunteers to be part of the Jumpstart literacy program.

The project, which is funded through a three-year grant from the Phil Hardin Foundation, is allowing MSU-Meridian to partner with Meridian Public School District to provide leaders in identified schools to work with pre-K4 students, according to a media release.

The Jumpstart program is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students to serve pre-school children and help them develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for kindergarten.

The program is accepting applications from college students, who don't have to be education majors to apply. Students who participate pledge to serve 300 hours over the course of a school year. At the completion of their service hours, they receive a Segal AmeriCorps education award, which provides $1300 tuition assistance to the community college or university they are attending.

 Terre Harris, program manager at MSU-Meridian said the main goal of the program is to get four-year-olds ready for kindergarten and help them with reading and literacy skills. Even though most of the work will be done virtually, volunteers will go into classrooms to provide assistance, Harris said. 

Jeff Leffler, assistant professor at MSU-Meridian, said the program will give young learners much-needed attention since schools are offering virtual instruction on some days. He said 15 volunteers will be needed to go into the classroom to assist students. 

Applications for the first cohort will be accepted until Jan. 22, and volunteers are scheduled to start helping students in February. Those interested can apply at or by contacting Harris at 601-573-1572 or

Story by Bianca Moorman, The Meridian Star

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