Oct. 23, 2009

BOSTON, MA - The University of Massachusetts Boston men's and women's hockey programs showed its support for the national "Read for the Record" program, sponsored by the Jumpstart organization, on October 8.

Members of the UMass Boston men's ice hockey team as well as Head Men's Ice Hockey Coach Peter Belisle and Head Women's Ice Hockey Coach Maura Crowell all took part in reading Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar to pre-school children at the UMass Boston Early Learning Center located at 2 Harbor Point Boulevard, adjacent to the University's campus. Under the direction of Stephanie Farmer, the Senior Site Manager for Jumpstart Boston and Charmin Delara, Community Outreach Coordinator/MACC AmeriCorps*VISTA at UMass Boston Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement, the session was just one of over 4,000 Read for the Record events nationwide.

"We enjoyed it," said Belisle. "I thought the guys (the men's hockey players) did a really good job reading to the kids and interacting and playing with the kids. We really had a lot of fun with them and it's definitely something that we'll do again."

The players and children were just a few of the 1.34 million readers throughout the world who took part in the Read for the Record event, eclipsing last year's record total of 700,000 thousand. The book was read aloud in classrooms, libraries and homes from Japan, Germany and Brazil to cities and rural communities across America.

"It's a great event and a great opportunity for members of the UMass Boston community to help out right down the street at the Early Learning Center," said Crowell. "I particularly enjoyed seeing the men's hockey players interacting with the kids."

In 2006, Jumpstart created Read for the Record, an international campaign to bring preschool children together with valued grownups in their lives to read the same book, on the same day, in communities all over the world.

"Reading with young children is a critical early step to ensuring they have the literacy and language skills for success in school and life," said Susan Werley, executive director of Jumpstart's Northeast Region. "With support from groups, like the University of Massachusetts Boston hockey team, Jumpstart's Read for the Record help us get closer to the day when all children enter school prepared to succeed."

Jumpstart is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. To support this mission, it brings college students and community volunteers together with preschool children in low-income communities for a full school year of individualized mentoring and tutoring. Jumpstart's research-based curriculum is focused on building language, literacy, social and emotional skills in preschool children, while providing our volunteers with a rewarding way to have lasting impact in their communities.