In an article by Philip Moeller titled “Senior-Student Mentoring Can Be Great Win-Win,” the author brings to light how “effectively pairing senior volunteers with students is one of the big win-win opportunities in virtually every community in the country.” Fighting the recession, schools are being forced to slash budgets while a steady stream of retired community members have more time, successful careers and wisdom to give back with. That’s where Experience Corps (www.experiencecorps.org) comes into play.
Experience Corps is one of the country’s most successful programs, where Americans older than 55 tutor and mentor children in urban public schools across the nation. Though there is a lot of effort that goes into correctly matching pairs, Moeller said “Just showing up at your neighborhood school can be successful, but more by accident than design.” With a program installed in 22 cities across America (including Cleveland, http://www.experiencecorps.org/cities/cleveland/index.cfm)), Experience Corps has around a total of 2,000 senior volunteers and 20,000 students. “The program works with younger students — kindergarten through third grade — and focuses its efforts on at-risk children in lower-income areas,” Moeller said.
With 10,000 baby boomers turning 60 each day, Home Care Assistance Columbus can only see hope for the future of these young students. “The benefit of this approach is reflected in volunteers who stay committed to the program and their students, and go well beyond the minimums in providing support,” the article said. With many of the mentors going back to volunteer in neighborhoods they grew up in, there can also be a deeper connection forged. Research has also shown health benefits of volunteering, since the mentors “tend to be more fit, more mentally acute, suffer less from depression and enjoy a stronger social network.”
Who will you mentor?