The City of Mesa is seeking volunteers for AARP Foundation Experience Corps, an intergenerational, community-based program that engages volunteers ages 50 and older as tutors and mentors to help K-3 students become proficient readers by the end of third grade.
Children who are not able to read at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely not to graduate from high school or attend and complete college. They are also likely to earn lower incomes throughout their lives. Experience Corps makes a lasting difference in the lives of America's most vulnerable children in high-need elementary schools while offering mental and physical health benefits to volunteers.
"Reading skills are a key building block for success, and I'm thrilled that Mesa is launching the Experience Corps program to give our 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders extra support," said Mesa Mayor John Giles. "Helping children with their literacy skills is both rewarding and a meaningful opportunity to have a lasting impact. I encourage every retiree in Mesa to consider getting involved."
Experience Corps has established active programs in over twenty cities across the country, including Phoenix, Tempe, and Pinal County. With the support of Experience Corps and Read On Arizona, a statewide collaboration focused on childhood literacy, Mesa is proud to join in efforts to bring in high quality literacy tutoring to Mesa Public Schools.
Beginning in January 2024, the program and its volunteers will provide a total average of 180 hours of support each week at six Mesa Public Schools tutoring and mentoring children who are not yet reading at grade level. Tutoring will continue through May 2024, with plans for continuation of the program in the 2024-2025 school year.
"In Mesa Public Schools we know literacy is a currency that is needed for a healthy and successful life." said Dr. Andi Fourlis, Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools. "We are excited to welcome Experience Corp reading tutors into our elementary schools. Our students have so much to gain from working with trained tutors who will help them strengthen their reading skills and become confident readers."
To qualify, volunteers must be at least 50 years of age, have earned a high school diploma or GED and must undergo a screening process. All Experience Corps volunteers receive extensive training and on-site support.
AARP Foundation Experience Corps Mesa is currently holding informational sessions to learn about the program, fill out an application, and complete an interview with City of Mesa staff members. If interested in volunteering, sign-up today.
To learn more about Experience Corps Mesa, visit www.mesaaz.gov/residents/education-workforce-office/aarp-experience-corps-mesa.