AARP Experience Corps Truly Makes an Impact

Success Story

After only 1 year of operation, local data proves that Experience Corps works for students and for volunteers.   Nationally during the 2016-2017 school year, 1,993 volunteer tutors helped 31,466 students in 241 schools in cities across 16 states.

For the same school year, United Way had 27 volunteer tutors helping 273 students in 9 schools across 4 school districts.

For students, external research by Washington University in St. Louis proves Experience Corps effectiveness in improving literacy. Students who worked one-to-one with Experience Corps tutors for a single school year saw more than 60% greater gains in critical literacy skills compared to students who were not served by the program.  When you compare our local program with the National program, you can see how successful we were in improving children’s literacy skills.  

For the 2016-17 school year:

  • National average: 67% of students who were below grade level at the beginning of the year improved their reading and literacy performance by half of a grade level or more. 
  • For United Way: 71% of students improved.
  • National average: 30% of students improved by a full grade level or more.
  • Locally with the United Way program 42% students improved by a full grade level or more.
  • National average: 29% of them were classified as on or above grade level by the end of the year.
  • For United Way: 38% of students were classified as on or above grade level by the end of the year.

For volunteer tutors, a Washington University study on the efficacy of Experience Corps found that Experience Corps is beneficial for the older adults themselves. Experience Corps members perceive that the program has a positive impact on students and on their relationship with students.

In addition, studies by researchers at Washington University and Johns Hopkins have shown that working with young students improves the health and well-being of the adults themselves.

After the 2016-17 school year we asked our volunteers if the Experience Corps program provided them with the opportunity to:

Expand their social network                                          89.5% said yes
Stay physically and mentally active                             100% said yes
Make a difference in their community                         100% said yes
Increase their sense of purpose in life                        100% said yes

You can read the full 2016-2017 Experience Corps report here.