Cities of Service launched the Experience Matters program in 2019 in partnership with AARP where five participating cities engaged residents aged 50+ to tackle public problems. Each city received $30,000 and technical assistance from Cities of Service. Full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members served in each city hall to build capacity and raise awareness for the initiatives.
Cities of Service compiled a report that outlines the activities and impact of the Experience Matters program and shares lessons that can inform future work with older volunteers. These include:
- how cities participating in the Experience Matters program have engaged older adults during the pandemic;
- the skills, relationships, and time that experienced volunteers can bring to their cities, and how to make the most of those assets;
- the need for thoughtful partnerships and messaging when engaging resident volunteers, especially those aged 50+; and practical tips for local leaders engaging older volunteers.
Remaining flexible and creative was key to the success of the Experience Matters program. In the face of the enormous challenges presented by COVID-19, city leaders were still able to draw on the strengths of adults aged 50+ and their desire to contribute to their communities.
See the details of work and impact in the five participating cities here.