Learn more about AARP Experience Corpssm from answers to these frequently asked questions:
What is AARP Experience Corps?
AARP Experience Corps, an award-winning national program, engages people 50-plus in meeting their communities’ greatest challenges. Today, in 19 cities across the country, 2,000 AARP Experience Corps volunteer members tutor and mentor elementary school students. Independent research shows that AARP Experience Corps boosts student academic performance, helps schools and youth-serving organizations become more successful, and enhances the well-being of the 50-plus adults in the process.
What do AARP Experience Corps volunteer members do?
Volunteer members provide tutoring in essential early literacy skills to students in underserved schools, both public and charter, as well as at community centers. Volunteers focus on improving reading skills and may help with homework and other academic subjects. Volunteer members in some locations may work with teachers, school leaders and youth workers to develop projects, such as parent involvement campaigns, health awareness activities and library book drives, benefiting schools and neighborhoods.
Where is AARP Experience Corps located?
AARP Experience Corps projects are located in 19 cities throughout the United States: Baltimore; Beaumont, Texas; Boston; Cleveland; Evansville, Ind.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; New Haven, Conn.; Marin County, Calif.; Minneapolis; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; Port Arthur, Texas; Portland, Ore.; Revere, Mass.; San Francisco; St. Paul, Minn.; Tempe, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C.
What are the core program elements that make AARP Experience Corps unique?
There are many wonderful programs, both locally and nationally, that involve 50-plus adults in helping to meet community needs. AARP Experience Corps is a distinct model and approach that is defined by these six elements:
- Focus on outcomes
- High member commitment
- Rigorous volunteer member training
- Team-based approach
- Critical mass of volunteer members
- Leadership development
What impact does AARP Experience Corps have?
AARP Experience Corps makes a significant impact on students, schools, community organizations and volunteer members.
- Higher test scores: According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, third-graders working with AARP Experience Corps volunteer members scored significantly higher on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program than children in control schools.
- Self-confidence: Teachers report that students who work with AARP Experience Corps volunteer members gain in self-confidence and make significant progress in reading and academic achievement.
- Committed, caring adults: AARP Experience Corps volunteer members provide a consistent adult presence for children, boosting their success inside and outside of the classroom. Research tells us that children need ongoing, secure relationships with adults in their families, schools and communities.
- Classroom behavior: In schools with AARP Experience Corps, referrals to the principal for classroom misbehavior decreased by half; referrals in other schools remained about the same.
- Learning environment: Research from the Center for American Progress finds that AARP Experience Corps makes "a significant difference building a positive environment for learning, helps students achieve" and serves as "a cost-effective way to improve the quality of education and supplement overworked teachers."
- Teachers and principals: Teachers and principals report high satisfaction with the AARP Experience Corps program. Three out of four teachers report dramatic improvements in student behavior, readiness to learn and respect for 50-plus adults.
For AARP Experience Corps volunteer members
- Health and well-being: AARP Experience Corps volunteer members show significant increases in cognitive ability, physical activity and strength, compared with a control group.
- Social connections: AARP Experience Corps volunteer members report social gains, including a significant decrease in time spent watching TV and a significant increase in the number of people they feel they could turn to for help. And AARP Experience Corps makes communities stronger. As Robert Putnam, Harvard professor and author of Bowling Alone and Better Together, says, "AARP Experience Corps illustrates the extraordinary power and subtlety of social networks to enable people to improve their lives."
Who are AARP Experience Corps volunteer members?
Volunteer members are the centerpiece of the AARP Experience Corps program. They are truly local heroes, women and men devoting four or more hours each week to assisting children in some of the poorest communities in our country. These children all too often have little steady adult support, and AARP Experience Corps volunteer members fill a critical need for a caring adult in their lives.
AARP Experience Corps volunteer members are typically over 50, with an average age of 67.
All potential AARP Experience Corps volunteer members are asked to complete an application and participate in an interview and background check. For detailed information about the application process in your area, visit the city page. Volunteer members are chosen based on their willingness to participate in all aspects of the program.
What type of previous experience do AARP Experience Corps volunteer members need?
Volunteer members do not need to have any specific experience to participate. AARP Experience Corps seeks to build on the unique strengths and talents of each member. The program provides many opportunities for ongoing learning and skills development, including preservice training (in topics critical to successful service with children), team meetings, monthly in-service training, lectures, field trips, conferences and reflection.
How much time must an AARP Experience Corps volunteer member commit?
AARP Experience Corps projects provide multiple options for service. Some require a minimum of four hours per week, while others require volunteer members to serve at least 15 hours a week for a minimum of one school year. Visit your city page to learn about the requirements in your area. Many AARP Experience Corps volunteer members are semiretired, work part time or have family commitments. AARP Experience Corps volunteer members may move from one commitment level to another as their life circumstances change.
How long do these positions last?
AARP Experience Corps volunteer members are asked to commit to the program for at least one year.
How is AARP Experience Corps funded?
AARP Experience Corps draws on a variety of funding sources to ensure that the program is not overly dependent on any one funding stream and is sustainable over time. Current funding sources include the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps); private foundations; state and local public and private funds; and in-kind donations.
Learn about how you can support AARP Experience Corps.
What is the future of the AARP Experience Corps program?
AARP Experience Corps continuously adds new volunteer members, new school sites, new cities and new opportunities for civic action and leadership. While AARP Experience Corps is focused on tutoring and mentoring in public schools, future projects may focus on other avenues for engaging many more individuals in vital public and community service.