AARP recently announced it is joining forces with Experience Corps, one of the nation’s most highly-regarded service programs, which engages older adult volunteers to help improve kindergarten through third grade literacy in underserved schools. Nationwide, 2,000 AARP Experience Corps volunteers serve 20,000 students. And, Indiana is home to a noted Experience Corp program site, hosted by the Carver Community Organization.
“This is very welcome news for both AARP Indiana and the Carver Community Organization,” said AARP Indiana State Director June Lyle. “We have volunteers eager to work with children, and I know the folks in Evansville are eager to connect more tutors with local students.”
The new relationship supports the priorities of both organizations: AARP Experience Corps will be able to increase its ability to tap into the experience and dedication of older Americans who want to give back to their communities, and it will offer AARP members a new way to engage in one of their top service priorities – volunteering to tutor or mentor youth.
Experience Corps has a track record of improving literacy among American youth: according to research from Washington University in St. Louis, students working with Experience Corps tutors gain more than a 60 percent boost in two critical literacy skills—sounding out new words and reading comprehension – over similar students not being served by Experience Corps.
Experience Corps doesn’t only benefit students. Eighty-four percent of Experience Corps volunteers reported the participation has changed their lives for the better – reporting benefits including increased motivation, knowledge, confidence and skills.
The Evansville affiliate, led by Lorinda Taylor, Director of Adult Services for the Carver Community Organization, currently serves three area schools and has a committed volunteer corps, with more than one-half having been with the program for at least four years. During only the program’s second year of operations, it received an award from Leadership Evansville.
“There is a need in our community to expand this program,” Taylor said. “And, I believe this partnership with AARP will allow us to do that.”