For 11 years, AARP Experience Corps Tempe volunteers have helped shape Tempe Elementary School District children into stronger, more passionate readers. Hosted by the City of Tempe Human Services Department, this special volunteer program is designed for volunteers aged 50 years and older to interact as one-on-one literacy tutors for children that need a little extra help with reading and comprehension.
The program currently serves children at 10 Tempe Elementary Schools. At a recent visit at one of these schools, Aguilar Elementary, AARP Experience Corps Program Coordinator Rebecca Bond was watching the AARP Experience Corps volunteers in action and was very proud of their engagement with the students.
“These volunteers could be doing anything they want with their free time, but they choose to spend their time giving back to kids,” said Bond. “It’s very inspiring to see.”
This intergenerational volunteer-based tutoring program has proven to help children, who aren’t performing at their grade level, become great readers by the end of third-grade. Volunteers work with students by reading grade-level books together, challenging them with comprehension activities, and giving them individual support and guidance.
AARP Experience Corps Volunteer Robert Zumoff has been volunteering at Aguilar Elementary for six years and looks forward to many more years with the program.
“It’s great interacting with the kids and seeing them grow into stronger readers,” said Zumoff. “The program is also excellently structured. We receive all of our materials and training plus a lot of support from the City of Tempe.”
As a previous educator, AARP Experience Corps Program Coordinator Nicole Burner also notes how well the program is aligned with helping students reach success in their classrooms.
“This program is very rewarding to students because it builds them into stronger, and more confident readers,” explained Burner. “These students go from dreading reading, to raising their hands in class eager to share their reading skills and comprehension with their classmates.”
The AARP Experience Corps Tempe website reports that 84 percent of students who were below grade level at the beginning of the year improved their reading and literacy performance by half a grade level or more.
This program is a very admired and respected part of our schools that we hope to continue for many more years. On April 28, the Tempe Impacts Education Foundation honored AARP Experience Corps Tempe for their work at the Tempe Elementary School District with the annual Ralph & Carla Lingerfelt Commitment to the Community Award.
Congratulations AARP Experience Corps Tempe and thank you for your dedication to Tempe Elementary School District children!
Please watch the AARP Experience Corps Tempe award video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX8H3TkKFPY&t=0s
If you would like to learn more about AARP Experience Corps Tempe or would like to become involved as a volunteer, please visit http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/human-services/older-adults/aarp-experience-corps.