Suffolk University, in collaboration with two other campuses, has won the prestigious Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration for work with Jumpstart’s Roxbury School Readiness for All Initiative.

The $10,000 award recognizes exceptional collaborative work between institutions of higher education and service organizations for the benefit of communities.

This benefit was seen in the academic and social progress made by 560 Roxbury preschool children as a direct result of their one-to-one work with Jumpstart mentors from three Boston-area colleges: Suffolk University, Northeastern University, and Wheelock College.

Mentoring preschool students

Currently in its third year, Jumpstart’s Roxbury School Readiness for All Initiative pairs college students from Suffolk University and two other Boston-area colleges with preschool students from 14 early-education centers in Roxbury.

The Jumpstart mentors work one-to-one with the preschool students for two hours, twice each week. They also provide additional support, instruction, and attention to all of the students in the early-education classrooms.

12,000 hours of support

In 2002, Suffolk University began a formal partnership with Jumpstart, engaging 20 students in the lives of at-risk preschool children. Over the past four years that number has increased to 40 Suffolk students each committing more than 300 hours to the communities of Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Boston.

“Jumpstart has shown me a future in something that I am passionate about," said Suffolk senior Nina Leuzzi, who has set a new career goal due to her four years with Jumpstart. "Through interactions with the children and the communities, I have learned about how I can best serve families, and I have developed strong classroom management skills from the program that will serve me well when I am a teacher.”

"Inspiring commitment"

“The commitment of resources from Suffolk University ... is truly inspiring and is helping to make a measurable difference in the lives of local children and families,” said Erin Cox Weinberg, executive director of Jumpstart’s Northeast Region. “Our goal is to ensure that all the preschool children in Roxbury -- and eventually across the city -- are ready to succeed in kindergarten.”

The two other award finalists were Harvard University’s Phillips Brooks House Association and the Boston Youth Fund, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Peruvian Ministry of Health, for their collaboration on the Village Empowerment Partnership.

All three finalists were honored at an award ceremony.