HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AARP FOUNDATION EXPERIENCE CORPSVISIT www.aarp.org/experience-corps AND REGISTER FOR AN UPCOMING INFO. SESSION

If you’re looking for a worthwhile way to spend your time in retirement, you may want to learn more about AARP Foundation Experience Corps. This intergenerational volunteer-based tutoring program is proven to help children who aren’t reading at grade level become great readers by the end of the third grade.


“We inspire and empower adults age 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,” says the AARP. “Our goal is to improve children’s literacy, strengthen our communities and help develop cultures of inspiration in our schools. And we also want to support our hardworking teachers.”


“Experience Corps makes a significant difference building a positive environment for learning,” says the Center for American Progress. “It helps students achieve and serves as a cost- effective way to improve the quality of education and supplement overworked teachers.”


The Experience Corps trains volunteers, age 50 years and over, to tutor and mentor more than 30,000 pre-K to third grade students throughout the country. Working collaboratively with teachers and other volunteers, you can change the course of a child’s life by sharing your wisdom and experience. In the era of COVID-19, many of these volunteer

HELP CHILDREN IMPROVE THEIR READING

experiences had to pivot to take place virtually for the 2020-21 school year. Working together on a video-based platform, tutors will still be able to coach students in their reading skills, provide encouragement and give them the opportunity to spend more time learning with a trusted and caring adult.


Tutors learn how repetitive and frequent reading leads to reading fluency. They also learn how to involve and excite students in reading skillfully. They are specifically shown how to make reading a fun and rewarding process for struggling students. Volunteers’ tutoring skills are enhanced with the aim of having them share their wisdom and experience and inspire young readers to explore the world through books and reading.


Tutors must 50 or older; have a minimum high school diploma or GED; pass a criminal background check and a basic literacy screening; attend 25 hours of annual training; and commit to five to 15 hours a week during the school year.