Last week, we met the dynamic Henderson Hopkins Principal Katrina Foster, who talked about the school’s innovative teaching and community outreach. One of the ways the school connects with our neighborhood is through the AARP Experience Corps, which utilizes the time, skills and experience of senior citizens to tutor elementary school-age children.
AARP Experience Corps Team Leader Marion Carter explains:
"This is our fifth year working with the school. We work with children from kindergarten to the third grade. The program has adults 50 years and older, who volunteer at least 15 hours a week to help the children with English and math. Most of the volunteers are from where they volunteer. They know the area, they've lived in the area and they know the children."
A team of six to 20 adults is recruited for each school, with each team member working in a single classroom. The volunteer members work at the direction of the teacher to support students.
Experience Corps volunteer Angela Wall has high aspirations for the children with whom she works:
"Hopefully some of them will be a president some day or a congressperson. I believe in our children. I believe all that is in our kids. We want to be right there for them when they need us."
Ms. Wall especially appreciates in the community in which she lives:
"I've been in the community for over 40 years. Things have been made very convenient for us here in East Baltimore. Just like for Thanksgiving, so many bags of food were given to families in need from our school. It brought tears to my eyes knowing no family would go hungry on Thanksgiving. Especially with Johns Hopkins - they want the community to be built up, with families moving in, nicer homes, and now a nice big, beautiful new school for the children. Johns Hopkins is one that really helps to push things through and get some of these things done."
The AARP Experience Corps partnership not only benefits students, but also the health of its volunteers by keeping them active in the community.
Ms. Wall believes she is making a difference through her efforts:
“These kids are going to do what they have to do to get into higher education, like college. I don’t know if I’ll still be here when they finish, but they can come back and say: ‘There she is. That’s the lady who really helped us to keep stepping up.’”
We’re grateful for the volunteers working hard to help our children rise to their potential. And we hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch this week’s video and hear more about Experience Corps.