Experience Corps Brings Adults Back to School

Posted on 05/20/2014 by | AARP Pennsylvania | Comments

woman and child reading (3)People who sign up to volunteer with AARP Experience Corps are finding themselves back in the classroom. And they are loving it.

Just ask Marlo Bender about her work as a tutor with AARP Experience Corps. As a volunteer in Tempe, Arizona, Bender is just as excited to be in the classroom as the kids are to have her.

“It’s magical,” says Bender of her experience. “When my students realize they’re reading, not just word-for-word but fluently, their faces light up,” she says.

And many adults 50 and over that work with AARP Experience Corps say they have an improved sense of purpose, as well as increased physical and brain health as a result of their time back in the classroom.

The Experience Corps Solution

In the U.S. only approximately 30 percent of American children are reading at grade level by the third grade. Many states are now implementing laws that effectively hold children back if they can’t pass basic reading tests. AARP Experience Corps provides tutors who work with children in kindergarten through third grade who are struggling with reading—improving their reading scores with additional weekly support that the teacher just can’t give. The extra time and attention pay off in improved reading scores for most. The work resonates with those who want to leave a legacy and provide future generations with the tools to be successful. Volunteers need have no prior experience teaching or tutoring; we provide extensive training.

Teachers Feel the Impact

It’s not just the volunteers and children that are reaping the benefits from Experience Corps’ special, hands-on approach to literacy. The teachers are well aware that Experience Corps tutors are useful tools in helping them make pronounced improvements in literacy.

Principals like Donna Smith count on Experience Corps. Volunteers work in the classrooms of her school, John Wister Elementary in Philadelphia, with most of the 12 current volunteers in their late 60’s and early 70’s. “They’re not taking kids to the bathroom or making copies; these are trained literacy volunteers; they make drastic changes in where kids are academically,” Smith says.

To learn more about AARP Experience Corps, visit us at www.aarp.org/experiencecorps.

Home page photo provided by Matt Roth 


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Dancers, travelers, or people from foreign lands eager to share their talent, tales of adventure, or culture are needed by senior facilities, as are yoga/exercise leaders, arts/crafters, & others. Volunteers are the only option for some, although many places can and do pay for such programs. Seniorplaylist.com gives free exposure to anyone hoping to entertain, conduct an activity or speak at their local senior communities by listing it on the site so that those seeking entertainers or activity providers for their assisted living facility, nursing home, or senior center can find and 'book' them to do whatever their listing describes at the facility for its seniors to enjoy. A foreign culture is often the monthly focus of programs, as it is for one major nationwide chain's facilities in 2015. For them, for example, February's theme is China. Scheduling is flexible (7 days/week, mid-morning to early p.m.) and programs/performances are brief, as the standard is 1 hr. or less. Create your own free listing on Seniorplaylist.com or call or email Karen Raines for more info.