Volunteering in my community is important because I am a product and a resident of my community.
Philadelphia, PA resident Diane Mills began volunteering in earnest after overcoming a bout with a life-threating illness. Since then, volunteerism has become more than something she does with her spare time. She now considers it part of her lifestyle. Diane is a volunteer with AARP Foundation Experience Corps Philadelphia.
“I currently volunteer through AARP Foundation Experience Corps as a Team Leader and a Literacy Tutor/Mentor,” says Diane. “This is my third year volunteering at the Cayuga Promise Academy in Philadelphia. I am in the school three to four days a week, five hours each day. Working with the principal and the teachers, once students are identified that can benefit from receiving sustained tutoring, I match them with the volunteer Literacy Tutor/Mentors on my team to start the process of improving their literacy skills. All the students we tutor are six to 18 months below their perspective reading grade levels. In addition to managing the day to day routines of my team of eight volunteers, I develop school support projects to enhance the student's literacy skills using a variety of projects that engage community partners and the parents.”
AARP Foundation Experience Corps is an intergenerational volunteer-based tutoring program that is proven to help children who aren’t reading at grade level become great readers by the end of third-grade. They inspire and empower adults 50 and older to serve in their community and disrupt the cycle of poverty by making a lasting difference in the lives of America’s most vulnerable children. The Experience Corps model is a proven intervention with measurable benefits for students, as well as positive mental and physical health benefits for volunteers who participate. By helping young students become better readers, Experience Corps seeks to ensure a lasting legacy of strong futures, supported schools and empowered volunteers.
“My favorite aspect of AARP Foundation Experience Corps is providing school support projects,” says Diane. “A few of the projects we did last school year included challenging students to read books; a partnership with Temple University School of Dentistry that provided tooth brushing demoes, supplies, and coloring book literature for students; inviting Philadelphia Police Officers to read to students from a book about city life; a ‘live’ Museum of Women honoring Women’s History Month; and creating a mobile library for the Cayuga Promise Academy.”
When Diane isn’t volunteering, she enjoys writing and acting. Her favorite Cabot cheese is Vermont Sharp. Diane’s friend Barbara Downz will be joining her on the cruise.