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Tuesday, September 16, 2003 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4541

New Campaign Encourages Older Americans To Help Children In Urban Schools

Assistant Secretary for Aging, Josefina G. Carbonell, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and John Gomperts, CEO of Experience Corps, today unveiled a new campaign to recruit thousands of older Americans to participate in a tutoring and mentoring program sponsored by Experience Corps. This recruitment effort, which expresses President Bush’s strong call to service and his emphasis on the importance of literacy, is supported by a grant of almost $790,000 from the Administration on Aging (AoA).

Experience Corps is the innovative and award-winning program that creates opportunities for older Americans to take part iny

vital public and community service. Today, more than 1,000 Experience Corps members are serving as tutors and mentors to children in urban public schools in a dozen cities across the country.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said, “Older Americans are a powerful resource for communities all around the country. This administration is pleased to partner with Experience Corps, an exceptional program for retirees to do real work with kids in schools and community organizations. I’m confident that everyone – children and older citizens alike – will gain by bringing more people into Experience Corps.”

“By placing older Americans in tutoring and mentoring relationships with children in urban public schools, Experience Corps is helping to ensure that children will be able to read by grade three,” said Assistant Secretary Carbonell. “We know from experience and research that by volunteering, those older volunteers also improve their own health. Experience Corps is a tremendous intergenerational program and we are delighted to support the effort to recruit thousands more older Americans to join Experience Corps.”

Gomperts said, “We are extremely grateful for the support that AoA and HHS are providing to Experience Corps. The recruitment campaign we are launching this month will help bring thousands more older Americans into service. And, it will give thousands of children the benefit of a caring adult and tutor.”

The recruitment campaign encourages Americans over 55 to join Experience Corps by emphasizing the value of their work and life experience, the ease of joining a team of volunteer to tutor and mentor children, and the importance of the societal contributions they can make in retirement.

Each campaign poster pictures a student working with an Experience Corps member. The headlines for the 50 different posters reflect the pictured volunteer’s past profession and current contribution. For example, a retired graphic designer is “Still Bringing Magic to the Page,” a retired chemist is “Still Getting Good Reactions,” and a retired actor is “Still Playing Important Roles.” Photos of groups of older volunteers run with the headline, “Here Comes the Future.”

The ads have appeared in venues from the Cleveland Plain Dealer to San Francisco bus shelters to the Boston subway system. In addition, they have been posted in community gathering places and handed out as fliers.

“Experience is the best teacher,” the posters proclaim, “and you have a lifetime’s worth. Don’t let it go to waste. Share it.”

Experience Corps is currently operating in 12 cities – Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Port Arthur, TX; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC.

To learn more about Experience Corps and to view the recruitment posters, please visit