AARP AARP States Oregon Community

AARP Experience Corps: Volunteers Make a Difference


Did you know 4th graders who can’t read at grade-level are four times less likely to graduate from high school?

AARP Foundation Experience Corps is an intergenerational volunteer-based tutoring program that is proven to help children who aren’t reading at grade level become great readers by the end of third grade. Experience Corps has nearly 2,000 highly-trained volunteers working in 21 cities and serves over 30,000 students every year in high-need elementary schools. Each AARP Foundation Experience Corps site operates one of three tutoring models: one to one; small group; and literacy assistance (where volunteers tutor and help teachers with classroom-wide activities).

In Oregon, Metropolitan Family Service runs the AARP Experience Corps program and taps the experience of adults 50+ to help kids succeed. The program depends on volunteers like Herlene Benson who tutor 2nd graders at local public schools. Currently, the program is accepting volunteer applications for eastside Portland and Gresham for the 2017-18 school year. Volunteers spend up 10 hrs a week working with children and stipends maybe available for volunteers. Check out Herlene's story below.

To learn more about volunteering for AARP Experience Corps, email  or call  503-688-1767.

By Herlene Benson, AARP Experience Corps Volunteer

HBenson Exp Corps
Herlene Benson, AARP Experience Corps
Matt Harra

I am very happy to tell you about my volunteer support through one of Metropolitan Family Services many programs - AARP Experience Corps.

When I retired from Oregon Health Sciences University I volunteered In Gov. Kulongoski's office in Salem and that’s where I learned about MFS Experience Corps. My husband and I had traveled a lot, played more golf than I ever expected and with our children now being adults, I began to think - OK, now what? I was feeling a need for a deeper purpose and that’s what drove me to call Jessica at MFS.

This proven program is made up of volunteers aged 50 and older who are dedicated to helping children become great readers by the 3rd grade, thus improving their skills also in math and science. I must tell you that working with children is extremely rewarding, and more so than chasing a little white ball on the golf course.

Every week for 10 hours I mentor 8 or more students, one-to-one, helping them to develop their literacy skills at Lot Whitcomb Grade School in Milwaukie, 20 miles from my home. Observing these students to build their reading skills and confidence, leaves me feeling fortunate to be a part of Experience Corps.

Recently a 2nd grader I work with asked me how old I am (which always occurs at some time during the year). When I said 75, he had such a surprise look on his little face and said “AND you're still alive"? Cute, huh?

I love my contact with these children, they make me laugh, and I work hard at encouraging them to have a positive outlook on learning. It is also very important to me to be a part of this early educational program and now I have the pleasure to share this with you.

About AARP Oregon
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.