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Hopkins researches new seniors' program

Experience Corps. is a program providing benefits for local schools and the seniors involved Experience Corps..is a new program that places senior citizens into elementary schools as mentors. It is a joint venture between Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore City Public Schools, and the Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC).

Johns Hopkins' Center on Aging is heavily involved in the program through training and research.

While the program is widely successful at helping students and teachers in the schools, it also benefits the volunteers involved. Johns Hopkins works to monitor any changes in the seniors' mental or physical health throughout their involvement in the program.

A biannual test, designed by Hopkins, is aimed at improving the seniors’ physical and mental fitness and is very successful. Newer volunteers to the program have also been given MRIs, which will allow for even greater research of the mental effects of the program. Hopkins also provides other valuable resources such as funding.

Seniors are paid a stipend for their work from Johns Hopkins. Transportation and cab vouchers are also provided to assist the seniors in getting to the schools.

Johns Hopkins also provides training for the volunteers and a great deal of exposure, says Debbie Thomas, the principal at Medfield Heights Elementary School.

The exposure seems to be working. Recently, Mayor Martin O’Malley has taken notice of the Experience Corps. program.

"The program is so successful that the mayor has observed its accomplishments and would like to expand Experience Corps. citywide," said McGill.

The program is now searching for new volunteers and funders to help support this increase. For more information visit GHCC’s web site.

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Seniors help local schools: Experience Cops, Students, teachers, and volunteers... all benefit from the Experience Cops venture.