Experience Corps Bay Area
A SEQUOIA LIVING AND AARP PARTNERSHIP
WHAT’S AARP EXPERIENCE CORPS?
AARP Experience Corps matches volunteer tutors aged 50 years and over with non-fluent readers in grades K–3rd. By pairing young learners with experienced readers, we help to build confidence and trust at a critical time for children. Experience Corps helps older adult volunteers maintain a sense of purpose by putting their wisdom to work, while at the same time addressing a major contributor to poverty: the inability of children to read at grade level by the end of third grade.
Launched in a single school in 2007, Experience Corps Bay Area now serves thousands of students in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Sonoma counties. Most of our students come from low-income families and many are English Language Learners. Our volunteers come from all over the Bay Area and beyond and have a variety of work backgrounds. Most are 65–85 years old. There is no experience necessary to be an Experience Corps Bay Area tutor—we provide training and continuing support.
2021 HYBRID MODEL: IN-PERSON AND ONLINE LITERACY TRAINING
In 2020, at the start of the pandemic, we quickly went into action and began online training for all of our volunteers. We were able to successfully continue the tutoring program. The new flexibility of doing it remotely helped us grow our volunteer base to people who otherwise would not have transportation to and from in-person tutoring sessions at the school. Once we begin to transition back to in-person, one-on-one tutoring sessions, our volunteers will have an option to continue providing online literacy training.
How We Measure Progress
Results from multiple independent evaluations prove that Experience Corps leads to significant reading gains for students who have struggled. Thanks to our volunteers who use this opportunity to rediscover purpose in their lives, the children in our program become great readers giving them an advantage to escape the cycle of poverty.
Experience Corps conducts an annual and ongoing data collection and reporting to measure student progress. Standardized assessments are used to determine a student’s reading proficiency upon entry into the program, and are administered multiple times per year, with at least one mid-point and final assessment. An Experience Corps staff person is designated to collect and analyze the standardized assessment data.
Students in our program are often a half to a full year and a half behind in reading; however, we like to work with our schools to decide which students will benefit the most. If you are with a school in the Bay Area and want to find out how to bring Experience Corps to your students, please contact Sandi Strang at SStrang@sequoialiving.org, or call (415) 464-1767.
Children who are not able to read at grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely not to graduate from high school.
The median annual income for a high school dropout in 2015 was $25,000, compared with $53,800 for someone who obtained a college or post-graduate degree.
High school dropouts are more likely than those who graduate to be arrested or have a child while still a teenager.
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