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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Experience Corps Bay Area

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Literacy, Philanthropy, Primary & Elementary Schools, Remedial Reading & Encouragement, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: Experience Corps is a community based nonprofit organization that has two primary missions. First we focus on helping K-3rd grade students in public schools reach grade-level reading proficiency by 3rd grade. Studies show that students who fall behind by the end of 3rd grade have increasingly difficult times in keeping up, graduating and becoming contributing members of their community. Secondly, we focus on providing people 50+ years of age with the opportunity to utilize their knowledge, experience and understanding to help the next generation of readers. Studies continue to show that older Americans who remain active and engaged tend to live healthier and happier lives. Combining the experience, love, and expertise of older adults with public school youth creates lasting bonds which build stronger schools and stronger communities. In addition to providing Experience Corps volunteers with training, team building opportunities, and on-site support, we also provide monthly stipends to older adults able to serve 10 hours a week or more.

Results: Winner of 2012 Eisner Foundation Award for Intergenerational Excellence. - 73% of students improved by one or more reading grade levels - 91% of teachers rated Experience Corps volunteers as good/excellent in the quality of support they provided

Target demographics: young students in grades K-3 who are struggling with their reading skills

Direct beneficiaries per year: 217 volunteers help 3, 224 students with over 27,000 hours of volunteer service

Geographic areas served: San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Redwood City

Programs: Since 1994, we have been placing adults over the age of 50 to work with young students one-on-one or in small groups. The experience of our volunteers, plus the on-going training they provide, insures the success of our program.

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have tutored Reading for 2 years with kindergarten and first grade children in Berkeley. It is rewarding to see students improve their reading skills. It is fun to work with talented teachers who teach well the academics and teach how to be a compassionate person.

Judith42

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The training and support received from Experience Corps Bay Area has been excellent. Tutoring has been fun (and educational), and it is tremendously satisfying to see how much the students improve their reading skills and self confidence from the one-on-one assistance.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been an EC volunteer in San Franciso for 5 years working in two different schools with primarily low income kids in second and fourth grades. The support was always there if I needed it from EC...not so much from school personnel as they always seemed overwhelmed. Without expectations of students, meeting the kids where they were on that day, was key to my success in maximizing my time to their benefit. The EC program fulfills my daily goal of making a difference one child at a time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a retired bank employee, I would like to add another view. The outstanding on-going training and support provided to volunteers by Experience Corp allows tutors with business backgrounds to feel directly connected to the world of education. Representing ECBA in the city's SFUSD has opened up a significant sense of linking with elementary school professionals, great relationships with ECBA trainers and staff, and of course, the path of children's education. I never would have anticipated that my banking background could evolve in to this current, dynamic association with adults and children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great way for seniors to not only make difference in young people's lives, but also to build community and grow personally. I love tutoring and plan to continue as long as possible.

Doug Jensen

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was fortunate to have had an Experience Corps Bay Area member volunteer in my class this past year. My young scholars loved seeing him everyday he came. It even got to the point students were begging to have a turn with "Mr. S". The warmth and caring spirit he brought and shared with my students was awesome. While the goal was for "Mr. S" to work with struggling readers, we both agreed that there were other areas my students needed support in, such as: name writing, alphabet recognition/ sounds, alphabet and number formation, as well as a caring person just to sit down and read and talk to. And probably the most kindest thing "Mr. S" did, was to do extra visits during the week, so he could help more of my students. He even donated funds to help students in need. I am so thankful for an organization such as EXPERIENCE CORPS BAY AREA , who recognize that teachers and students in the Bay Area need good, quality support and blessing us with volunteers such as "Mr. S".

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Experience Corp volunteer in my kindergarten class has made a tremendous difference in the lives of many children. The students she worked with developed their literacy skills as well as their confidence. I really appreciate the Experience Corp Organization and the amazing people who volunteer in our classrooms.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working with Experience Corps in Oakland for 4 years. They provide their volunteers with many training and feedback opportunities I've been with the first grade and have found that the children so appreciate having an adult to give them special attention and help. It seems to really make a difference in their school involvement.

Ellen Nathanson

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience being a volunteer with Experience Corps Bay Area has been wonderful and very fulfilling. The organization is truly dedicated to helping small children, kindergardeners through 3 graders, learn the importance of being strong readers to help aid in the rest of their education.

In my experience, matching 50+ aged people with these small readers has been a great experience for not only the children, but for the adults.

Helping a few 7 and 8 years olds succeed in advancing their reading skills, the notion of "really helping" came to fruition when the last day of school came to pass this school year. I had equipped one of my readers with a few books for him to read during the summer. Waiting with him for his Mom to pick him up, I told him, I didn't want him to forget his book bag (I had visited the Lost and Found with this child too often during the year!) . He looked at me and said, "Ms. --------, I would never forget my backpack; practically my whole life is in that bag!"
I was satisfied.

I am now looking forward to the next school year and more 2nd grade readers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Experience Corps in San Francisco is one of the best run volunteer organizations for what it has identified as an at-risk group requiring the sharing of knowledge through a gentle and firm approach: in helping young pupils up to grade 3 to exercise reading skills that would allow them to functional well and competitively in an educational environment. The corps takes a professional approach to training its volunteers, and its staff is highly supportive and knowledgeable. I have been with the corps for a relatively short time (less than a year) and have found that it has an excellent relationship with the public schools that it serves. I've found the work very gratifying - not all problems are solvable in the short term, but being in a position to provide a solution does have its benefits from time to time - a passage well-read, a compliment for a job well done, a smile on a child's face.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working with Experience Corps Bay Area (at my old elementary school in Oakland, which makes it even more fun). I see it as not only helping the children get up to speed in their reading, but it's a win-win, as it engages some of us who are retired and want to "give back." It's a perfect example of helping people of youth and seniors at the same time. I recommend it to anyone who wants to do something positive. The rewards are immense for both age groups, evidenced in the children looking forward to their tutoring experience each time they see you.

Mindy18

Client Served

Rating: 5

Volunteers make children's lives more joyful and peaceful while supporting their learning in the classroom. In my third grade classroom, the caring volunteers have loved working with students in reading and writing. Helping them to focus, gain confidence, work on skills in fluency, accuracy, and reading comprehension, talk about their ideas and help them to express them in complete sentences and strong paragraphs. The focus students are so excited to meet with their patient and friendly volunteer. It is a beautiful relationship for all.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I love the volunteering I do with Experience Corp -- relating to those little developing minds and coaching them over their hurdles in learning to read and write. This is a GOOD organization to volunteer with because they really appreciate and acknowledge us and give us excellent training!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked at an elementary school in Oakland , Ca and was given 2 second graders reading at low 1st grade levels. By the end of the school year, both children had advance over 1 year in their reading levels. It was heartwarming, rewarding, fun, and I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who enjoys spending time with children. Don't worry if you are successful or if you hit a bump in the road of progress. Both you and your student(s) will have benefitted far more than you realized could be possible. The nicest compliment I have ever received from a 7 year old came so unexpectedly and was so appreciated, I have to pass it along. He said, " I'm going to miss you when you're dead". As someone who could have easily been older than his grandfather, I was so moved by his unfiltered appreciation . Maybe someone that you help will miss you, too. Right now, you are missing them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I still remember the first book I could read by myself and the glorious feeling of accomplishment when I'd finished it. In my three years volunteering as an ECBA reading tutor, I have had the joy of watching first graders have this same experience, knowing that our one-on-one reading sessions helped to make it possible. ECBA provides excellent training for its volunteers. All you need is a love of reading and a desire to be part of something truly exciting. It's giving back to the community and rewarding yourself at the same time. Try it!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been with Experience Corp for 10 years now and every year I learn something new from the students.

If you saw the movie "Pay It Forward" a few years ago, this is a great way to impact future generations.

Although we may never fully know what our impact is on the generations of the future, I'm sure that they will benefit and gain confidence from our help.

Just the fact that I make the World a little better with each tutoring session is enough for me to continue to volunteer with this program.

There are so many children who can use a helping hand. If each of us helps just one child, that would have a tremendous impact.

The other reason I volunteer is that it's just a fun and rewarding experience for me!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What does it feel like to enable a child to believe in themselves? Experience Corps gives me that opportunity to work with children preparing them for a future that should be limitless.

How many of us feel that we are not good at something? As I examined myself, I found that the foundation about things that I am not good at, stem from my childhood. I lost confidence at an early age because I gave up on myself or was told that I'm not good at something.

I have the unique opportunity to instill confidence in a young child before they give up on themselves. This is a very powerful and rewarding gift.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was looking to volunteer somewhere in my own neighborhood to help where there is a need. After reading an article about Experience Corps, I checked it out and was immediately comfortable with the job, people, and training. I felt very prepared to go into the classroom and work with the kids who needed just a bit of additional help to stay at grade level. I was given many tools and ideas to use by EC to make the learning fun for the kids and they looked forward to me working with them. In fact, several of the other kids wanted to go with me, too. EC is a very well-run organization with lots of support for their volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a new volunteer this year in a Kindergarten class at Parker Elementary in Oakland. This year the class is large and the day is long for those little ones. Having a volunteer in the class clearly helps those young children who need to gain social and academic skills. I see that they are eager for attention and to have their hard work acknowledged. Learning letters and their sounds is difficult. I am so happy to be able to spend the time with small groups to give them the review they needed. It is very rewarding to see the light go on in their minds when they 'get it.'

Struggling children are marginalized. You see that right away, even in Kindergarten. These children need the positive support and one-on-one attention that Experience Corps volunteers can give them that the teacher can't. I have seen the difference even in the few weeks I've been there.

Experience Corps is a model for utilizing the talent of young-minded Boomers. I constantly recruit for Experience Corps to strengthen the education of those in our poorest communities. Giving is gratifying but seeing these children learn is even more rewarding!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I retired 2 years ago from a computer technichan job and wanted to do something that would help my community. I read about Experience Corps and thought it would be perfect for me. I started working with a Transitional to Kindergarden class and love it. I feel I am making a real differnce in these young children's lives. Some come prepared for entering school but many have no idea how to work and play with other children, how to articulate their feelings even something so simple as finishing a puzzle can be complicated ! I also feel like I am assisting their teacher, giving her more time to interact with more students and also being an adult to bounce ideas off. I love this program - so happy I am involved in it!

janemaude

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Experience Corps does more for me than anyone else. I rise to the challenge. I benefit from the experience. My self-esteem soars. I'm doing something beneficial to the students which, in turn, benefits everyone. Experience Corps gives me the opportunity to do something meaningful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The mission and support for volunteers makes this a very special organization. Despite coming out of retirement, I blocked off my volunteer time for experience corps, and consider it untouchable, despite my employer wanting more of my time.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have the impression that I'm accomplishing some very important contributions to a needy population of young students, and that my efforts will contribute significantly to their future development.

Carla14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering as a tutor/mentor for Experience Corps Bay Area since I retired in 2007. I am not a school teacher, but if you can read and do simple math, you can make a tremendous difference in the life of a young elementary school student. Experience Corps coordinates everything from your training to the student assignment(s). You choose the days and the hours you would like to volunteer. This is a wonderful program, very supportive, with continued training and team meetings throughout the year. I am so happy that I joined Experience Corps Bay Area!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an Experience Corps Bay Area volunteer. After working for 34 years in the Computer Software development field, when I retired I really wanted to work with kids, preferably tutoring, one-on-one. Experience Corps was a perfect fit! They provided training, literature, suggestions for games, for creating visual aids, and a structure. Experience Corps Bay Area connects retired seniors with elementary schools in Oakland where the need is the greatest. Their objective is to keep us active and involved in the community while at the same time, help the youth of Oakland to succeed educationally. I have made new friends from age 8 to 88. I have been volunteering since 2007, and I can actually see that I have made a difference in the lives of my students, some who have already started high school.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Experience Corps gives volunteers the tools they need to address one of our most pressing problems: giving all our community's children a high-quality education. As a volunteer myself, I'm part of a team with great adults (staff and volunteers) and charming kids. I work at Sankofa, an Oakland school community that is giving its all under difficult circumstances. If I can help, even a little, it feels terrific!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Enthusiastic staff, offers many training opportunities and social gatherings for volunteers, professionally managed.

A few of the mandatory trainings were not very helpful but still a good idea

Volunteer

Rating: 5

grateful to have a place to share experience strength and hope to the future that is so bombarded with distractions. as a volunteer i get the opportunity of making an impact on the real sense of self definition for the children with the hope of them being able to see through reading many possibilities of what seemed impossible.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Experience Corps for 3 years now. After retiring as a physician, I wanted to find opportunities to continue to help my community. Assisting children to improve their reading seemed like a very good method for working on that goal, and I have engaged in that activity 15-20 hours per week in an elementary school in Oakland, California.

It is very clear that such efforts yield real results in reading improvement. For example, I can begin working as a one-on-one tutor with a second grader in September. At that time, his or her reading performance might be in the 5th or 10th percentile. At the end of the school year, reading level is usually close to the 50th percentile! This doesn't solve all of the problems for these children, but being able to read at grade level proficiency should certainly be an important step up.

Our organization, Experience Corps, makes this experience possible for over 60 volunteers in Oakland. The current structure of our city schools simply doesn't allow for random, individual volunteers to work effectively with any school. Experience Corps meets with and establishes ground rules for volunteer activity in any school. Security questions and background checks are handled by Experience Corps, and that assurance is given to the school. Advance arrangements are made with teachers. In addition, volunteers are periodically gathered together to discuss policy, future activities, and ongoing inservice education is provided as well.

Experience Corps is providing a wonderful service, and they get my highest rating!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my fourth year as an Experience Corps volunteer. As a retired person from a "helping" profession I had a need to offer something of myself to my community. Experience Corps has certainly satisfied that need. Experience Corps has provided me with superior training and has responded whenever I needed their support. I was fortunate enough, last year, to have the 2nd grade teacher whose children I tutored, thank me for for their improvement in literacy which she said was was verified by their test scores. Actually, my thanks comes from the fulfilling feeling I have as I am leaving school on the days I tutor. So, this wonderful organization can be credited with helping the young and the "old."

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel so fulfilled when working as a volunteer in Experience Corps Bay Area's K-3 Literacy Program in San Francisco. Tutoring "one-on-one" in two third grade classes each week has been challenging and rewarding. We receive exceptional training as volunteers and learn how to best work with English Language Learners and others who need extra help to read fluently and with understanding. As an older adult volunteer, I have been embraced by the school community and the Experience Corps staff and feel that I am making a difference through this wonderful program.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Experience Corps is a wonderful organization and I am very pleased to be a volunteer with them. The training is very professional and a great help to me as I work with first and second grade children. My association with them is a real gift to me.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

In my involvement with Experience Corps - Bay Area, I have been impressed time and time again. I have seen young students drastically improve their literacy skills, and better yet...they were excited to learn more. I have seen these older adults inspire these young children to succeed in school and become invested in their own futures. It has been heart warming to see senior citizens light up and thrive in their involvement. I have seen older adults at the risk of isolation come together to socialize and network over a shared passion for education. I heard a stories from volunteers about finding a new purpose in life when they thought they had surpassed the feeling of inspiration, and stories of finding time and discovering new passions in retirement. With this enthusiasm, Experience Corps volunteers not only witness academic growth, but a child who is excited to grow older and a child who admires their life-learned wisdom. Preconceived notions and misconceptions are reconsidered. And along side these blossoming students and seniors with rejuvenated quality of life, are the communities that flourish as a result of a more educated future citizenship and tangible proof of a community who cares about it's children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being an Experience Corps volunteer has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me since I retired. Whether working one-on-one or with an entire class, the interaction with both the students and teachers has been very gratifying. The Experience Corps staff provides volunteers with practical tools to be effective tutors, as well as ongoing support if problems arise. I commend the organization for the excellent work they are doing.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

It is an honor to be a volunteer with Experience Corps. This is my second year serving. Helping children in grades K-3rd with their literacy development is quite satisfying. The training and support provided are useful and appreciative. The expression of a child's face when they learn something is such a joy to "Experience"!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Experience Corp does a great job at not only placing their volunteers but also provides much needed ongoing support in the way of, training, team meetings, newsletters, online instructional videos, and close contact. It's nice to know that they invest in their volunteers and see us as such a valuable resource.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being an Experience Corps Volunteer is an immensely rewarding experience for me personally and I believe for the first grade students I work with one-on-one. Experience Corps provides its tutors with literacy training and tools to be effective and creative in building a relationship with each child and addressing their particular literacy needs. Additionally, working with the classroom teacher has given me an opportunity to see first hand--and to appreciate--great teaching. Finally, the tutoring team established at my school and throughout our city provides an opportunity for me to meet and exchange ideas with other seniors who share a common concern for the future of our community and its youth - wonderful people I would not otherwise know but for Experience Corps.