www.experiencecorps.org Experience Corps

Every community has experience!

Experience Corps had its beginnings in a 1988 concept paper by former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and founder of Common Cause, John Gardner. In 1995, Gardner’s idea became a reality resulting in Experience Corps, an award-winning national network of partners, schools, and community service organizations that has since grown to more than 2,000 members in 20 cities across the country. Experience Corps engages and leverages the experience and leadership of the over 55 population to meet community needs providing a pool of members acting as tutors and mentors for children ages K-3. Role model members provide literacy coaching, homework help, and committed, caring attention. Experience Corps’ mission is to create powerful opportunities for older adults to meet society’s greatest challenges while laying the groundwork for the millions of boomers who look for purposeful opportunities to make a difference. This generational exchange makes communities stronger and allows for children to succeed and older adults to thrive.

The Experience Corps model focuses on 10 key elements: elementary schools(particularly in the inner-city because of the academic and social needs of low-income children); intensive service that expects a commitment of at least 15-hours-a-week; incentives in the form of a stipend (ranging from $100 to $200 a month) for volunteers who’ve served at least 15-hours-a-week; diversity of participants; variety of meaningful service roles; leadership and initiative; training; learning and growth; critical mass of older adult volunteers; and, the team concept.

Experience Corps members tutor children who need basic literacy skills. Members also mentor students who count on them for guidance, in addition to partnering with classroom teachers to make schools better places to learn. Boomers, their parents and grandparents can help create healthier communities. Non-school hours are spent working in YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other community youth organizations. Before and after school programs focus on music, sports, dance, and academic enrichment. Programs such as parent breakfasts are designed to strengthen schools.

Experience Corps members spend their day working one-on-one with children. Some of this time is spent on academics, while the remainder is for developing close relationships and supporting the students emotionally. Research shows that Experience Corps boosts student academic performance, helps schools and youth-serving organizations become more successful, and enhances the well-being of older adults.

We encourage all boomers and super boomers to visit this outstanding website. Find opportunities in your city and help our children get a world class education.