Since 1991, the Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program (JUMP Nation) has dedicated its time and energy to one goal: helping at-risk middle and high school students overcome obstacles to continue their education. On Friday, Oct. 26, the organization will celebrate another year of striving toward that goal at its 27th annual JUMP Banquet.
In order to aid at-risk youth, JUMP Nation gives students from the New York City and Binghamton areas a variety of academic and personal resources, helping them graduate high school and encouraging them to pursue higher education. Its largest event of the year, JUMP Weekend, brings eighth-grade students to Binghamton University for an all-expenses-paid four-day weekend, in which they are paired with BU students — a host and a mentor — and attend workshops and forums that provide skills, both academic and social, that will help them succeed.
Savannah Markel, co-public relations chair for JUMP Nation and a junior majoring in human development, highlighted the importance of giving young students access to a program like JUMP Nation.
“I became a part of this organization because I truly believe that mentorship is crucial to a young student’s success,” Markel wrote in an email. “The bonds I’ve made in JUMP will last me forever and they’ve showed me the significance of a support system, one that I (along with many of my peers) lacked when I was in middle school and definitely could’ve benefited from.”
The next JUMP Weekend does not occur until April 2019, but all proceeds the organization makes throughout the year go toward funding the weekend, including proceeds from the banquet. This year’s JUMP Banquet is “Miami Vice”-themed, complete with neon colors and palm trees that are reminiscent of ‘80s Miami nightlife. The banquet consists of music, performances, a skit, dancing, awards and a home-cooked meal, courtesy of JUMP Nation’s Executive Board.
“The purpose of our banquet is to celebrate another year of believing in our youth and decreasing high school dropout rates,” Markel wrote.
JUMP Nation also holds a smaller version of JUMP Weekend, its Leadership Conference, in the fall. The free one-day event, which will be on Saturday, Nov. 17 this year, brings at-risk high school students to campus, encouraging them to finish high school and showing them their post-graduation options.
For Markel, JUMP is so valuable because of the bonds its members make, not only with each other, but also with the young students — the proteges, as JUMP refers to them — whom they mentor. She said she hopes that more BU students get involved in the organization to give their proteges positive role models who are dedicated to their success. Mentorship makes all the difference.
“Every time the proteges leave, I cry, just because the positive change in our proteges becomes so visible, and it happens in only four days,” Markel wrote. “Being able to physically see the demeanor of a young student flourish positively is so beautiful.”
JUMP Banquet will take place on Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Mandela Room in the University Union. Individual tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 or at the door for $20. Groups can also purchase tickets for a table of ten for $130.