The Washington, D.C., program began operating in 1999 as a signature program of Civic Ventures. For several years, the program was housed at a local nonprofit. In 2010-11, the D.C. program was suspended and later reorganized under the auspices of the AARP Experience Corps national office. The D.C. program was successfully relaunched in the fall 2011 with 37 volunteer members tutoring and mentoring 563 students in four schools across the District. Last year, we grew 50 percent, doubling our volunteer corps and outreach activities. Growth plans include expansion to additional D.C. schools and beyond, into the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs.
We utilize the time, skills and experience of adults over age 50 to help students in kindergarten through third grade develop the academic skills, self-confidence and personal skills needed to succeed in school and in life. Each volunteer member commits a minimum of five hours per week for the school year. A team of eight to 20 adults is placed in each school. Volunteer members work at the direction of the teacher to support the literacy needs of students, working one-on-one, with small groups or whole classrooms.
Results from the surveys administered in 2012 indicate that teachers and AARP Experience Corps tutors both value the AARP Experience Corps program and view it as successful in fulfilling its goal to help struggling students achieve. Many of the students participating in the program are showing incremental improvements in reading, as evidenced by results from post-assessment data. The AARP Experience Corps vision is to have all the students we are working with reading on grade level by the end of third grade. The ability to move the needle towards proficiency for the majority of the children we serve reinforces our conviction that the literacy intervention being provided by our volunteer members is effective and impactful. Teachers perceive AARP Experience Corps volunteer members as important contributors to their efforts in the critical areas of reading and literacy, as well as in many of the attitudes and behaviors that support academic achievement.
Program Launch: 1999
Program Details (2012 – 2013 school year)
- Students served: 918
- Volunteer members: 62
- Schools/centers served: 6
- Hours logged: 24,877
Program Impact: 2012 – 2013 School Year
- 87.5 percent of teachers rated AARP Experience Corps volunteer members in the classroom assistance program as being good or excellent in their overall quality of assistance.
- Of the students whose overall reading skills were rated as being below grade level at the beginning of the year, 93 percent showed incremental improvement by the end of the year.
- 91 percent of volunteer members were satisfied with the overall quality of training sessions provided by the AARP Experience Corps program.