Since adopting PS 119, the core team from Next Jump had visited the school on several occasions. But in true Next Jump style, we wanted to express the commitment to this program and get all our employees and the school fully engaged.
So, on October 23rd, our New York office locked its doors from 9 am until 1:30 pm, and all Next Jumpers took the orange colors and headed outside to meet two yellow school buses. Yes-actual school buses! We truly wanted this experience to be an emotionally memorable one. And what better way than taking Next Jumpers on a trip down Memory Lane while driving through New York City?
Now, I won’t hold back the fact that these buses truly needed better suspensions, but the overall experience was really amazing. Some of us never had a chance to experience riding on a yellow bus before and the rest almost forgot the last time they had. In the end, the trip to PS 119 was great, and during the drive we had the opportunity to bond and reflect more upon the various ways that we can impact the school.
Once at PS 119, we were greeted by the Principal, Ms. Michelle Montana, and and the two Assistant Principals, Emily Williams and Delynn Ramos. We were also happy to see Ms. Lynda Tyner, the former Principal of PS 119, who paid a visit to the school.
Our hosts guided our group (all fifty of us!) into the auditorium where we met children, parents, and more teachers. We came well prepared, but the school was even better prepared. After all, they do organize a big part of 1000 kids’ life every day, right?
They quickly divided us in 6 groups and each group was given a student and a parent as guides. Right then and there, I felt a knot in my throat as the 5-grader assigned to our group shook my hand firmly, and said with a bright smile: “Welcome to our school. I’ll be your guide. I want you to see how beautiful our school is!” The innocence and care and the passion that these kids had rivaled that of any guide in my book!
Directed by our energetic tour guides, we proceeded to walk through the school’s corridors and stop in several rooms, including classes in session, the library, and the gymnasium.
The kids and teachers met us with smiles and a warm welcome and the children did not hold back their questions. I’m almost tempted to say that some questions were not easy to answer. One child asked us: “If you help us build something, like a robot, can you help us sell it for money?” I think we just discovered a future entrepreneur!
In general, I felt like the school was well organized, nicely decorated, and very clean. The children and teachers seemed very engaged and, most importantly, very eager to learn more and do more.
Throughout the visit, our employees started to get a feel for the school and bond with a few of the students, and experience a growing excitement to help raise the kids’ expectations and be a positive influence in their lives.
At the end of the session, the school asked each of us to answer two simple questions: What did you think about PS 119 before coming here, and what do you think now that you’ve been here. They seem like simple questions, but it’s amazing to see how one single visit to the school significantly changed what some of us previously thought about PS 119 and, perhaps, about the education system in general.
Below are just a few samples of the answers that Next Jumpers gave:
On the way back, through the heavy traffic of midtown NYC, we had time to discuss, reflect, and plan. But mostly, we had time to think about how amazing these kids are and how great would it be for us to help them become even better. I can’t think of a better place to apply the Next Jump motto: “Do the little things that help others do the great things that they were meant to do.”
We hope that our experience will continue to inspire others and that soon we’ll see other companies following our trail and adopt a school.
If you would like to be involved, please contact us at TeamAdoptASchool@nextjump.com