Arizona Republic
August 23, 2006

Author: Josh Kelley (Phoenix, AZ)

Wanted: Educated baby boomers willing to tutor and mentor fourth-grade students at Kerr and Hawthorne elementary schools in Mesa.

Organizers hope to recruit 16 people, eight at each school, to help improve the reading and writing of fourth-graders as part of Experience Corps, a national program for older Americans aimed at solving social problems, including illiteracy.

People bilingual in English and Spanish are sought. Those who take part in the program will work 15 to 20 hours per week with struggling students, including minority groups of Latinos and Native Americans, at the two schools, said Pat Esparza, Experience Corps program coordinator who is on staff at Mesa Community College.

The college, which received a grant for the program, is partnering with Mesa Public Schools and Make a Difference. Experience Corps workers must be at least 55 and will receive training and a stipend of about $2,800 for the school year.

Esparza said the minimum requirement is a GED, but a bachelor's degree is preferred.

Boomer tutors wanted

Meetings for adults 55 and older who want to tutor fourth-graders:

* Media center at Kerr Elementary, 125 E. McLellan Road, 6 p.m. Aug. 31.

* Conference room on eighth floor of Mesa Public Schools Administrative
Services Center, 63 E. Main St., 10 a.m. Oct. 6.

For information contact:

* Lisa Stevenson at Make A Difference, (602) 973-2212, Ext. 229.

* Pat Esparza, Experience Corps program coordinator, (602) 697-6464.