Alert
Close

Introducing AARP RealPad: The Wi-Fi Tablet That Makes It Easy to Share, Learn, Connect and Play. Learn more

Giving Back

AARP Foundation

Help AARP Foundation win back opportunity for struggling Americans age 50 and over. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar spent goes directly to life-changing programs and services. Do

MOST POPULAR

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

California

Retirees Bolster Kids' Reading Skills

Experience Corps pairs volunteer tutors with elementary school students who need extra help

Volunteers need a high school or equivalency degree, must be fluent in English and undergo background checks.

They come from backgrounds as diverse as real estate and cosmetology, said Paul Olsen, director of the Bay Area Experience Corps. Volunteers serve in 26 schools in San Francisco, San Rafael and Oakland.

The program welcomes newcomers and provides training.

"The only experience needed is caring about the kids," Olsen said. A side benefit is giving children exposure to successful adults with rich life experiences.

Principal Jennifer Steiner said 80 percent of Monroe students are from Latino or Asian families where English is the second language.

Tutors develop relationships with the kids and often move grade to grade with students they've been helping, she said.

More than a tutor

Brundage, who signed on three years ago, called it a win-win.

He recalled a boy from a shaky home life. "I was the only one who showed up for his kindergarten graduation," Brundage said. "None of his family was there."

Harger said another boy whose dad had died struggled with reading and shuffled quietly and sadly through school. She teamed him with Brundage.

At the end of third grade, when the boy seemed more lighthearted and held his head high for the first time, Harger couldn't help thinking that maybe the Experience Corps relationship had something to do with the spring in his step.

Quaintance said AARP wants to expand Experience Corps to more communities across the country in the next five years and "go deeper" in some existing locations.

To inquire about volunteering in the Bay Area, call 415-759-4223 or email ecbatoday@gmail.com.

You may also like: Experience Corps makes a difference. »

Rita Beamish is a writer living in San Mateo, Calif.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discount & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Anna's Linens

Member save 10% every day at Anna's Linens and AnnasLinens.com.

Faanui Bay, as seen from beach on Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Members save up to $525 on vacations at AARP® Travel Center powered by Expedia®

Pepperoni Pizza, Papa Johns Superbowl promotion for AARP members

Members save 25% off regular price menu items at Papa John's

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Being Social

Community Volunteers

Honor Our Soldiers

Stop by to recognize those who have served our country, past and present. Discuss