Goals and Progress
Projects and Cores
The Baltimore Experience Corps, a volunteer service program for older persons, is a collaboration of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore City schools, Civic Ventures (a nonprofit corporation in San Francisco, Calif.), and the Greater Homewood Community Corporation.
The program was also designed as a research study to determine if a new model of senior service improves the educational outcomes of children in elementary schools in Baltimore, as well as the health and functional status of older adults.
Funding support for the Baltimore Experience Corps study is provided by the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, under contract P30-AG02133.
Baltimore Experience Corps is dedicated to mobilizing the experience, wisdom and energies of older adults from the community to address the needs of inner-city elementary schools. By creating meaningful roles for older adults in schools, we create a powerful intergenerational matrix of influence that can improve the lives of the children, teachers and participating seniors.
In addition, the Baltimore Experience Corps seeks to enhance the ability of the wider community to solve collective problems by increasing the social capital available to schools and neighborhoods.
We believe that Experience Corps members can be both a resource to improve educational outcomes for children and the social glue that binds adults and children across generations and racial and socioeconomic boundaries. It is our mission to continue to build meaningful and productive roles for seniors in underserved elementary schools, leading to a higher quality of life for seniors, children and communities.
The Baltimore Experience Corps began in 1998. Each year, we have placed teams of trained older adults in elementary schools in Baltimore. Many volunteers return for the following year. Along with their role in the schools, the volunteers provide ongoing support and influence to the general operation of the program.
In the 2007–2008 academic year, we were pleased to have 325 older adults volunteer in 19 different elementary schools in Baltimore. Our hope is to continue to expand throughout the city.
Volunteers are recruited from in and around the communities they serve. They complete 36 hours of training in literacy support, including phonetics, library support and violence prevention, as well as background on school administration and culture. They are placed in classrooms in grades K–3, as well as in school libraries and other supportive roles within the school, such as attendance monitors. Volunteer preferences are taken into account during placement.
The Baltimore Experience Corps is funded with the help of grant support from NIA, Civic Ventures and the Corporation for National Service. We also rely on private and corporate support to continue and expand operations.