Experience Corps Bay Area (ECBA) engages older adults (50+) as tutors and mentors in order to increase literacy skills of children in grades K-3. We have been effective in bolstering educational practice in Bay Area schools and our volunteers have been indispensable to our success. Through this generational exchange, children succeed, older adults thrive, and communities are made stronger. Numerous Bay Area community organizations have recognized our track record of excellence in literacy intervention for kids.
ECBA was established in San Francisco in 1998 by Aspiranet, expanded to Oakland in 2005, Berkeley in 2013 and most recently became involved in the Redwood City community as well. Our scope has grown, over time, from a single elementary school in San Francisco to 27 partner schools – currently, 9 in Oakland, 3 in Berkeley, 10 in San Francisco, 2 in Daly City, 2 in South San Francisco and 1 Redwood City and 1 in Atherton. At present, more than 150 ECBA volunteers are serving over 2,800 Bay Area school children.
About AARP Experience Corps
Experience Corps Bay Area is a proud affiliate of AARP Experience Corps – an award-winning national program that had its beginnings in a concept paper by John Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and founder of Common Cause. Gardner envisioned the creation of a new institution – Experience Corps – that would mobilize the time, talent, and experience of older Americans to revitalize their communities. In fact, Experience Corps is the only national program that provides an intensive level of reading intervention from older adult volunteers throughout an entire school year, and has a proven record of helping students reach crucial academic milestones that enable them to become self-sufficient and achieve lifelong success.
Started in 1995 as a pilot project in five cities, the program has grown to more than 2,000 volunteers in 20 cities across the country, providing consistent, caring attention and literacy coaching. Public/Private Ventures served as the managing partner for the initial launch, working in close collaboration with the National Senior Service Corps of the Corporation for National Service and researchers from Johns Hopkins University. In 2011, Experience Corps joined forces with AARP, becoming AARP Experience Corps.
The AARP Experience Corps partnership well serves the priorities of both organizations. As the nation’s largest organization for 50+ Americans, with nearly 40 million members, AARP is dedicated to providing opportunities for members who want to give back to their communities. Through the AARP affiliation, Experience Corps can scale its operations, tapping increased numbers of volunteers and reaching more low-performing schools and at-risk students. An ambitious campaign is underway to expand the program to new sites where there is evidence of student need and a concentration of older adults eager to tutor and mentor youth.