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Mount Mercy University is committed to keeping in communication with the campus community as the rapidly evolving coronavirus COVID-19 situation unfolds.

For more information and updates, visit our Coronavirus webpage.


JumpStart’s mission is to inspire Cedar Rapids children to reach their educational potential by teaching vital lessons in leadership and academics as part of free sports programming at the Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex.

The Program


  • Basketball league
  • Volleyball league
  • Mount Mercy sporting events
  • On-campus activities
  • Arts and crafts
  • Lunch Buddy Program
  • Halloween on the Hill


JumpStart is completely free of charge. Meals are included.


JumpStart will take place on the following dates:

June: 10th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th, 26th

July: 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and the Banquet on the 25th


All of our activities are taking place on campus. This includes the Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex and Rinderknecht Athletic Center.

Our Coaches

Our coaching staff consists of Mount Mercy students. The goal is to have fun and influence the kids in a positive way from the experience our students have made so far.

JumpStart Coaches

The following students are our JumpStart coaches for this year. Find out more about them!

Hi my name is Barry and this is my second year working with JumpStart. I enjoy getting to know new kids every summer and continuing those relationships throughout the year with our lunch buddies’ program! Our program is growing on a large scale and I am excited to not only meet the kids but also their wonderful families.

My name is Cassandra Forsythe, but most people call me Cassy. I am currently a junior majoring in psychology with a double minor in sport, health, and exercise psychology and human resource management. I am one of the head coaches for JumpStart, I am on the bowling team, I am a percussionist in the band, I am the Vice President of the psychology club, I am the treasurer of the SIHRM club, I am a weekend radio host at Z102.9, I work at learning RX as a cognitive brain trainer, and I am a freshman mentor in the project connect program. I am very involved, but it helps me make connections and pushes me to try new things.
Hello Everybody! My name is Mija! (you are probably trying to figure out how to say my name, huh? It’s pronounced “my-ah”) I can’t wait to get to know you all. I’m so excited for what this summer has in store! Until then here is a little about me… I am a Healthcare Administration student and enjoy being involved at college in anyway that I can. I am the president of our activities and programming board, so I help plan all the FUN activities on campus. My favorite part is when we have inflatables! 

Another cool thing, I get to live with my best friend! Outside of school I have two jobs. I also enjoy doing anything outdoors. Camping with my family is one of my favorite summer activities!

During quarantine I have successfully annoyed our cat, watched movies, and made cookies! I have also been able to spend quality time with my niece. Oh, and drinking LOTS of Dr. Pepper. Holy cow! I just realized my Mom is a Covid-19 expert. She always told me to wash my hands and cover my mouth when I sneeze or cough. How lucky am I? Stay safe and healthy!  

My name is Avery Anderson and I’m super excited to be joining the Jump Start team! I am a freshman music education major, and love to stay very involved on the Mount Mercy University campus. Over the past few weeks of quarantine, I’ve spent my time doing online school work, reading, and having cookout-picnics. It’s been a great way to enjoy the outdoors with a small group! 

Hello Jump Start Kiddos and family members!! It’s me Jeanette Blasi. I am a junior here at Mount Mercy University studying Psychology. I enjoy reading and watching Sci-fi, playing fetch with my 9 month old kitten named Rajah, and napping. 
Since quarantine, I have binge watched too many Netflix and Disney+ movies and shows that I have lost count. Rajah has kept me on a schedule in which she wakes me every morning for food and playtime far too early. When I am not catering to Rajah’s needs, doing school work, or binge watching Netflix my roommate and I have started doing Zumba workouts. 
I am more than ready to get back to our outdoor facilities with my Jump Start family for endless fun and good food. 
I’m Becca Francois. I am from Rosemount, Minnesota. I’m a sophomore nursing major and I’m involved with the track team and student ambassadors. I am the youngest of 6 in my family and I have 5 nieces and nephews with two more on the way. I’m a huge sucker for any candy that is chewy or gummy like skittles or Mike and Ike’s. I also love being outdoors. My quarantine consisted of traveling to upstate New York to see my sister and her family and studying for all of my tests. 
My name is Ben Stecklein, I am from Cascade Iowa which is a small farming community in Western Iowa. I am a very active person who is often either working or working out when I can. When I am not working or working out I like to spend the rest of my time with my friends and family. My family and friends are a very important to me because they have helped guide me and mold me into the person I am today and I thank them for all that they have done for me and continue to do for me. During this long quarantine that we have all been doing I have spent a lot of my time with my friends and family. I have been playing card games and watching movies with my friends and family, but by far the most interesting thing that my family and I have begun doing is doing a joke time every night. My family see's this time in history with the COVID-19 epidemic as a sort of sad time and the best way to combat it in their eyes is with some humor. My joke for today is "Where does a dog go when he loses his tail? The re-TAIL store." Most of my jokes are puns that my family just rolls their eyes at but I know that they still enjoy. 

I actually did JumpStart last year ... I knew I really enjoyed it, and it was something I wanted to do again. So, when I found out I had the opportunity to do it again, I wanted to do it. I just like bonding with the coaches and just hanging out with all the other kids.