Over 50? Plan Your Volunteer Activity Now to Help Kids This Fall

If you’ve put volunteering with kids on your post-Labor Day list, hooray! Lots of youth-serving organizations need new volunteers starting in the fall. Now’s the time to start searching for the right opportunity for you.

Here’s a list of 15 Gen2Gen partners, organized by area of interest, that are looking for fall volunteers in multiple locations across the country. Scroll down to see if something excites you, and make a commitment now to show up for kids once summer is over!

TUTORING

Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring pairs older adult volunteers with children in grades K-3 who need extra support with reading, talking and writing. “You don’t have to be an educator to become a tutor because Oasis provides training that prepares you,” says volunteer Tammy Kelly. “If you like children, this is a way to contribute to their success.” Oasis has 4,500 volunteers working in 20 cities across the country. Find the website for your city here, and then explore volunteer opportunities.

Jumpstart Community Corps volunteers spend 8-12 hours per week with preschool children, providing language, literacy and social-emotional support. Adults over 50 receive high-quality training to promote children’s school success and build family involvement. Learn more and fill out the online application here. Jumpstart’s Read for the Record brings together millions of people each year in classrooms, libraries, community centers, and homes across the US. Take the pledge to join in on the fun October 25, 2018.

AARP Foundation Experience Corps is a volunteer-based tutoring program that connects older adults to their communities by engaging them in the intergenerational work of helping young students (K-3) become better readers. Typically, volunteers are over 50 years old and tutor an average of 4-15 hours per week throughout the school year. “It’s a joy to see the light in a child’s face when they understand,” says volunteer Calvin Leonard. See if your city has a chapter and opportunities available, and then apply.

SPORTS

Up2Us Sports provides coaches who are trained in positive youth development. More than 2,100 coaches in 500 communities have served 400,000 youth to date. Coaches are AmeriCorps volunteers and Up2Us Sports is interested in recruiting coaches over the age of 50. So if you’re fixin’ to do something more physical, learn about becoming a coach here.

Playworks helps schools and youth programs create recess and play environments where every child can join in. “I retired too early, and I still had more to give,” says Playworks volunteer Richard Johnstin. “I’ve always enjoyed working with children and I believe in the importance of play in the development of our youth.” Want to help kids discover their best selves on the playground? Explore volunteer opportunities at Playworks locations across 23 states, then submit an application form.

Coaching Corps uses sports and the power of coaches to foster transformative change among youth living in underserved communities. They pair qualified coaches with afterschool sports programs in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland and New England. You don’t need coaching experience – just a love of sports and a willingness to give 2-4 hours per week, per season. Sound good? Sign up here.

LITERACY

Raising A Reader volunteers help families with children from 0-8 develop, practice and maintain home literacy habits essential for school and life success. Explore both local (see locations here) and national opportunities to get involved and then complete the volunteer interest form to see if volunteers are needed in your area.

“Giving back is so much fun and older workers have so much to give, “ says Reading Partners volunteer Matt Groshong. He goes to an elementary school and reads with the same student for 45 minutes twice a week. Volunteers follow a structured curriculum to help students learn specific skills necessary to read at grade level by fourth grade. See if there’s a Reading Partners near you and sign up here.

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content to create impact, and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success. RIF has provided more than 415 million books to 40 million kids in all 50 states. There are a few ways you can volunteer on your own with RIF — you can host a book drive, become a literacy advocate, be a reading mentor or support RIF campaigns locally. They have toolkits to support you along the way. Learn more here.

AFTERSCHOOL

“It’s not just sitting and reading,” says Charlottesville Boys & Girls Club volunteer Diana Amatucci. “There’s a lot of conversation before you open the first page of the book.” Diana is one of many volunteers over 50 at Boys & Girls Club locations across the country. Find the club that’s closest to you by entering your zip code, and then click on the website link to discover volunteer opportunities in your area. Here’s a tip from Diana: “Kids love stories that start out with, ‘when I was your age…’”

Afterschool programs provide enormous value to the kids and communities they serve. Get involved with Afterschool Alliance, which works on behalf of more than 25,000 afterschool programs. You can advocate for the importance of afterschool programs or check out their project Lights On Afterschoolthe only nationwide rally for afterschool, on Thursday, October 25, 2018. Use ‘Find an Event’ to attend one of the 8,000 events happening that day or volunteer at one near you! Want to learn more about what afterschool data looks like in your state? Click here.

826 National provides under-resourced students age 6-18 with opportunities to nurture their creativity and improve their writing skills. Their afterschool program relies heavily on volunteers, but you can also help out in the classroom or with field trips and workshops. Josh Jackson, a volunteer at 826LA, says, “By volunteering a few hours per week, I get to have an absurd amount of fun, and I accomplish something tremendously important.” See if there’s an 826 in your city and then explore next steps.

MENTORING

MENTOR believes every young person should have the supportive relationships they need to grow and develop into thriving, productive and engaged adults. “I’m 20 now and Rob has been my mentor for almost eight years,” says Demetrius Peoples. “He’s listened to me, inspired me and given me confidence. Along with my mom, he’s my biggest fan.” Want to mentor a young person in your community? Enter your zip code into the Mentoring Connector and discover opportunities near you.

Volunteer with Citizen Schools and connect with the next generation of leaders and innovators. As a volunteer “Citizen Teacher,” you’ll lead a 10-week “Apprenticeship” on a topic of your choosing. Develop a middle school student’s real-world skills through project-based learning and building connections to professions they might not have known existed. Curriculum resources and in-class support provided by Citizen Schools. If you live in California, Massachusetts, or New York and this sounds up your alley, apply here.

Through school-based coordinators, Communities in Schools (CIS) brings community resources into public schools to empower success for all students by removing barriers for vulnerable students at risk of dropping out. CIS works directly with 2,300 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Find an affiliate in your area and explore current opportunities to become a volunteer.

Still haven’t found something that interests you? Never fear. Go to the Gen2Gen Opportunity Finder and search by topic and zip code.

Powered by Encore.org, Gen2Gen is a national campaign to mobilize older adults for kids who need champions. Like Gen2Gen on Facebook and join a community of people who believe in the power of intergenerational relationships to change the world

 Author Bios: Aileen Ichikawa (pictured left) is a partnership manager and Sarah McKinney (pictured right) is a writer with Encore.org‘s Generation to Generation campaign, mobilizing adults 50+ to help kids thrive.

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