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AARP Experience Corps is looking for adults 50 years and older interested in tutoring K-3 students who are struggling to read.

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AARP Experience Corps Philadelphia

AARP Experience Corps Philadelphia engages the time, talent and experience of retirees and older adults  support schools in improving the reading and literacy skills of children in grades K-3. AARP Experience Corps tutors provide intensive and ongoing one-on-one instructional support in reading and literacy to over 2,000 students in over 20 schools in Philadelphia. Each year AARP Experience Corps Philadelphia volunteer members provide nearly 100,000 hours of service to Philadelphia schools. AARP Experience Corps tutors also establish parent outreach, creating a strong link between the tutor, student and parent/caregiver. Working in teams of seven to 10, AARP Experience Corps provides a strong and supportive community presence within each of its partner schools.

AARP Experience Corps Philadelphia is one of the five original national AARP Experience Corps demonstration sites and has been in continuous operation since 1996. Over the years, AARP Experience Corps Philadelphia has received a variety of awards including the National Council on Aging's Promising Practice Award, the Points of Light Foundation's Daily Point of Light Award and the U.S. Administration on Aging's Program Excellence Award. AARP Experience Corps Philadelphia was highlighted in Harvard professor and author Robert Putnam's Better Together: Restoring the Community Together and Civic Ventures founder Marc Freedman's Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America. AARP Experience Corps Philadelphia has also been highlighted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, Mother Jones, Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report and USA Today, as well as ABC Morning News, the NBC Evening News and on NPR. In 2007, the Philadelphia City Council honored AARP Experience Corps for 10 years of service to the children of Philadelphia.

In addition to serving as tutors, AARP Experience Corps volunteer members also serve in a variety of other leadership program support roles, including field and site coordination and management, administrative support, fundraising, training and advocacy.

Program Launch: 1996

Program Details (2012 – 2013 data)

  • Number of students served annually: 4,050  
  • Volunteer members: 208
  • Hours logged: 54,175
  • Schools served: 17

Program Impact

In the 2012 – 2013 school year:

  • 34 percent of students who started the year below grade level in reading proficiency were rated at grade level by the end of the year.
  • 49 percent of students improved in reading and literacy performance from the beginning of the school year to the end of the year.
  • 56 percent of students showed improved classroom behavior by the end of the year.
  • 93 percent of teachers rated the impact of AARP Experience Corps volunteer members on student reading as moderate or strong. Of these:
    *77 percent reported that volunteers helped improve students’ school attendance.
    *81 percent credited volunteers with reducing students’ disruptive behavior.
    *92 percent credited volunteers with improving students’ participation and concentration.
  • 99 percent of volunteer members reported that volunteering as an Experience Corps Philadelphia tutor allowed them to stay physically and mentally active.
  • 97 percent of volunteer members reported that volunteering as an Experience Corps Philadelphia tutor gave them opportunities to expand their personal learning.
  • 94 percent of volunteer members reported that volunteering as an Experience Corps Philadelphia tutor gave them opportunities

Contact:
Branch Director
Catherine Mesaros
267-592-4455
cmesaros@aarp.org

Featured Quote

We have partnered with Philadelphia Experience Corps for more than five years so that our neediest students can participate in the Experience Corps program and achieve increased academic success and reduced truancy rates. The Experience Corps program improves the classroom learning environment and positively improves the overall school climate. Reading scores have increased with the help of this program and our struggling students desperately need this program for continued growth and support. Our teachers can immediately see the benefit they provide to our students. Our students have the opportunity to also build a positive relationship with older adults who can share their years of wisdom, knowledge and life experiences. Many of our students do not experience core family values and this program provides morals and values to students.

—Principal Donna Smith, John Wister Elementary School