AARP California: Reaching Across Generations

LOS ANGELES (June 2, 2014) The AARP Bulletin recently highlighted Jumpstart’s Community Corps program, and our work with Gen2Gen LA, a local initiative to promote intergenerational service in Los Angeles. Gen2Gen LA is part of Generation to Generation, a new national campaign that seeks to mobilize 1 million volunteers age 50 & over to help children thrive.

The campaign is based on striking evidence about the mutual benefits of intergenerational mentoring. Research has shown that children participating in mentoring programs improve in school achievement, reading scores and social adjustment.

At the same time, older volunteers gain a heightened sense of well-being when they work with kids. Studies have linked volunteering to reduced risk of hypertension, along with enhanced cognition and lower mortality.

Jumpstart’s Community Corps places older adults trained in early literacy and language skills in preschool classrooms in low-income communities to help prepare children to enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. Interventions at this early stage of development can make a huge impact on later school success, and Community Corps members also serve as “surrogate” grandparents in these children’s lives. The program has benefits for the Corps members as well, they get to feel a part of the community and engaged in a program. Lydia is one example of these Corps members:

Lydia Sussman knew she wanted to volunteer in retirement, preferably in a role taking advantage of her specific skills. She had been a teacher for 33 years in Los Angeles public school programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

That made her a good fit for Jumpstart, a nonprofit that helps provide underserved youngsters with language, literacy and developmental skills to get ready for kindergarten. She was tapped to mentor the “grandparent” volunteers who teach the Jumpstart curriculum to preschoolers.

“It was right up my alley,” said Sussman, 65, of Studio City. Read the full article.

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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