Casa Grande, AZ

Retirement community volunteers are helping young kids be successful in school

Madison Vega
One of the volunteers tutoring a studentAARP volunteer program

(Casa Grande, AZ) Older adults are tutoring children to help strengthen their reading abilities. 

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has a volunteering program where they have older adults teach children. This is the third year running for the program; in the first two years of the program they have accumulated 90 volunteers and have tutored 275 students. 

“AARP Foundation Experience Corps is a volunteer-based tutoring program that connects older adults to their communities by engaging them in the integrational work of helping young students become better readers,” the company shares in their informational pamphlets. 

The program started in 2019 when “Achieve Pinal” focused on the Arizona Progress Meter goal for the reading strategies of third graders. Then “Achieve Pinal” and the AARP teamed up. 

“Achieve Pinal is a project of the Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth, a 501c6 organization, and Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation, a 501c3 organization,” said Myra Garcia, program director. 

Achieve Pinal and the AARP are groups who have been working towards bettering the economic state of Pinal County. 

“The AARP Experience Corps Pinal-Casa Grande Advisory Board oversees the program, which consists of setting direction for the program, developing the budget, and hiring and providing general guidance to Experience Corps staff,” said Garica. 

The AARP works hand-in hand with the Casa Grande elementary school district in order to run this program. The school helps fund the program and provides other benefits. 

“The district works with Experience Corps staff to determine which students qualify for the program, administer tests and supply assessment data to staff. The district provides, at each of their school locations, a quiet space for tutors and students to work effectively together,” Garica says. 

The program is beneficial to young children and to older adults since it betters both groups. 

“Our volunteer based-tutoring program connects older adults with their communities by engaging them in the intergenerational work of helping young students become better readers,” Garica says. 

Older adults get to create meaningful lesson plans for these students which helps them be better prepared for their future. Volunteers are able to put their time and ideas into something that will push these kids in the right direction. 

The children that are eligible for this program run from seven to eight years old. The volunteers help these kids with their reading skills and help them become more proficient. 

The program has helped students greatly, this program has helped their reading fluency skills increase by 86%. 

Currently, the program has 60 volunteers and is looking for 20 to help with program growth. 

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer you can look on their website and apply. 

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Madison Vega is an upcoming junior at Arizona State University studying Journalism and Mass Communication, while minoring in communications. Vega is an independent contributor at NewsBreak publishing articles about all different types of things, from events to profiles.

Peoria, AZ

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