Research Documents Positive Impact
Of Experience Corps
Teams of experts at Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and
Public Health recently conducted studies designed to determine
how the work of Experience Corps members affects children and schools,
and how participation in Experience Corps affects older adults.
The studies involved more than 125 Experience Corps members and
a comparable control group of adults (aged 60 – 86), along
with nearly 2,000 school children (K-3) at six Baltimore elementary
schools (three where Experience Corps members worked and three that
were set up as a control group). The results of the research were
published in a series of peer-reviewed articles in the Journal
of Urban Health in March, 2004.
How Experience Corps Members Help Students and Schools
test scores: Third graders working with Experience Corps members
scored significantly higher on a reading test, the Maryland School
Performance Assessment Program, than children in the control schools.
Better behavior: In schools with Experience Corps, referrals to
the principal for classroom misbehavior decreased by half; referrals
in the other schools remained about the same.
Customer satisfaction: Teachers and principals reported high satisfaction
with the Experience Corps program.
Working with Students Benefits Experience Corps Members
overall health: For Experience Corps members, physical activity,
strength, and cognitive ability increased significantly. These
areas of improvement shown by Experience Corps members are important
predictors of health outcomes in later life, including disability
Increased strength: Forty-four percent of Experience Corps members
said they felt stronger at the end of the school year; in the
control group, only 18 percent did.
activity levels: Sixty-three percent of Experience Corps members
reported being more active, compared to 43 percent of controls.
More calories burned: Experience Corps members reported a 25 percent
increase in calories burned each week; controls reported only
a 5 percent increase.
TV time: Experience Corps members decreased by 4 percent their
numbers of hours spent watching TV, compared to an 18 percent
increase among controls.
social network: Experience Corps volunteers reported a significant
increase, compared to a decline in the control group, in the number
of people they felt they could turn to for help.
satisfaction: Ninety-eight percent of Experience Corps members
were satisfied with their school experience, and 80 percent returned
the following year.
population: Older urban volunteers are willing to make a substantial
time commitment and are eager to contribute to their communities.
Win-win situation: Placement of experienced volunteers in challenged
public elementary schools works well for students, teachers, schools,
and the older adults themselves.
Community service may be fountain of youth: "Giving back
to your community may slow the aging process in ways that lead
to a higher quality of life in older adults," says the study's
lead author, Linda P. Fried, M.D., director of the Center on Aging
and Health at Johns Hopkins.
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