EXPERIENCE CORPS AND THE NEW WAVE OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Photographs by Alex Harris U.S. Senate Russell Building Rotunda July 11-15, 2005
Experience Corps, an award-winning program, engages people over 55 in meeting their communities greatest challenges. Today, in 20 cities across the country, 2,000 Experience Corps members serve as tutors and mentors to children in public schools and after-school programs, where they help teach children to read and develop the confidence and skills to succeed in school and in life. Independent research shows that Experience Corps boosts student academic performance, helps schools and youth-serving organizations become more successful, strengthens ties between these institutions and surrounding neighborhoods, and enhances the well-being of the older adults in the process.
“When they read a page, and I can smile and say with joy in my voice, ‘Oh look how much you’ve been able to do today’…that’s what I call the million dollar reward. It doesn’t come easy.” Elizabeth J. Deucher, Cleveland
Experience Corps is a signature program of Civic Ventures.
“I’ve been asked by at least three students if I could be their dad. In one particular case, we were in a reading group and I was reading a story that referred to a father or a dad. One little boy said, ‘I haven’t got a dad.’ So I stopped reading and explained that everybody has a dad. ‘Your dad may not be living in the home with you, but you have a dad.’ So there was a long pause and this boy said, ’ Could you be my dad?’ I said, ‘I can’t be your dad, but I can be your good friend.” Val Jackson Minneapolis