Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,250,000)
AARP Foundation Experience Corps is applying for funding under Category 2: Organizations operating a structured, stand-alone mentoring program in 2 to 10 states and in existence at least 3 years. AARP Foundation will enhance its Experience Corps Mentoring Program over the next three years, recruiting 1,638 mentors to serve 3,112 mentees through 11 programs in 9 states: Atlanta, GA; Bay Area, CA; Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Casa Grande, AZ; Cleveland, OH; Orange County, CA; Macon, GA; New Haven, CT; Portland, OR; and Twin Cities, MN. Collectively, these programs have provided over 165 years of Experience Corps academic mentoring. Described on the attached Subgrantee Profiles, each site was selected based on their ability to create mentoring relationships in underserved and under-resourced populations, recruit mentors who align with mentee diversity, capture and use Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) data and deliver a rigorous implementation of the AARP Foundation Experience Corps tutoring model.
Experience Corps places trained mentors age 50+ with struggling readers in grades K-3 in high poverty communities to help mentees increase reading skills to grade level and reduce negative social/emotional behaviors. Our unique model of mentoring creates productive relationships between older adults and at-risk youth by combining instructional activities within the context of high-quality mentoring.
Across the nation, millions of children are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade, a benchmark critical to positive outcomes – a fact that disproportionately affects racial minorities. The Department of Justice has long recognized the relationship between poor literacy skills and delinquency for children as early as the first grade. Over 1/3 of all juvenile offenders and 70% of adult inmates in prisons cannot read above a fourth-grade level (OJJDP, 1994). Early reading proficiency is a strong predictor of positive life outcomes, high school graduation, and reduced delinquency.
The Experience Corps Mentoring Program will: (1) Increase the number of youth being served at proposed sites by 3,112 with a specific focus on recruiting diverse youth and ensuring their inclusion in the program; (2) Increase the number of well-trained mentors at proposed sites to 1,638 focusing on recruiting diverse mentors who reflect the communities they serve; (3) Increase positive social/emotional behaviors, including improved social competencies and (4) improve literacy outcomes among participating mentees.