Harnessing the Abilities of Older Adults in the US
Resource type: Grantee Story
…To Help At-Risk Children
One of the most common prejudices against older adults in the US is the belief that a majority of them are sick or disabled. The reality is that 85 per cent of older Americans are basically healthy, active and independent.
If engaged more in their communities, the 35 million older adults in the US could serve as a powerful force to address important social issues.
Purpose and Impact of the Grant
Experience Corps® matches groups of older adults with public schools in order to help at-risk children in the first to third grades improve their reading skills. Currently active in 13 US cities, more than 1,500 corps members serve as tutors and mentors to children in urban public schools and after-school programmes, where they help to teach children to read and develop the confidence and skills to succeed in school and in life.
Their committment is a serious one. Most serve 10-15 hours each week. All commit to a regular schedule each school year.
The contribution of the Experience Corps volunteers’ time and talents has been found to boost student academic performance; help schools and youth-serving organisations become more successful; strengthen ties between the schools and surrounding neighbourhoods; and enhance the well-being of the older volunteers in the process.