Now that the school year is underway, and some of us may be contemplating good ways to give back in the coming year, I'd like to make a plug for Experience Corps. Experience Corps provides an opportunity for volunteers age 55 and up to work with young students in schools to help them learn to read. Two thousand Experience Corps members are already working as tutors, mentors, and teacher helpers, reaching 20,000 students in 22 cities.
Members commit 4 to 15 hours a week for at least a year. They receive initial training in helping kids with literacy, and many opportunities for ongoing professional development and leadership training follow.
The program works. Studies have shown that students who work with Experience Corps members gain confidence and improve their test scores. Moreover, the adults who involve themselves report increased social and even physical well-being. They even show cognitive gains as compared to non-participating controls. What a great way to join a community of people giving back to their community, as part of an organization that is well-run and supportive!