AARP Experience Corps: Working with Kids Yields Rewards
By AARP Illinois, May 16, 2013 03:46 PM
Kids Aren't the Only Ones Who Win with Experience Corps
In 2007, a Washington University research study confirmed what volunteers have been consistently saying all along. AARP Experience Corps volunteers become more active and energetic as they participate in the program. From the study: "At the end of the academic year, about two-thirds of the low-activity group was classified as high-activity, as they became more active in [non-Experience Corps] activities. "
Experience Corps members become more active through their work engaging children in reading. This is the gift that they give; they spend anywhere between four to fifteen hours per week reading to children in underperforming schools.
Members often say that the increased levels of social interaction and activity, coupled with the gift of giving back, create a wonderful opportunity in Experience Corps.
Volunteers are assigned to one school and stay in that school for the entire academic year.
Other Key Program Benefits
Of course, students benefit as well. They receive the reading skills that are necessary in order to become better learners. How do we know? Here's some data from the 2011-2012's teachers' surveys: "Approximately two thirds of below grade-level students made substantial progress towards grade level proficiency in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. "
With Experience Corps, volunteers learn to sustain high-levels of activity, and previously struggling students make significant progress in both reading to learn and learning to read. Teachers are given a supplement to their weekly lesson plans while simultaneously observing better behavior in their students. Everybody wins.
Maybe the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says it best:
Experience Corps matches a critical need with a vital resource... Struggling inner-city children need help with their studies and more adult attention. Older citizens have time on their hands and skills to share. Put the two together and you have a powerful combination that works wonders for all involved. - The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Children need you and you have so much to give. To learn more about AARP Experience Corps, or to sign up as a volunteer, visit us at http://www.aarp.org/experience-corps/. For other volunteer opportunities in your community visit www.createthegood.org.