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AARP celebrates the joy of reading with community literacy festival

10/31/2014, 6 a.m.
AARP Experience Corps, Baltimore City will celebrate “National Make a Difference Day” by hosting their 6th Annual Fall Literacy Festival ...
AARP Experience Corps Baltimore volunteer member Robert Haynes completely captures the attention of six-year-old Kenyon Woodson; seven-year-old-Kaden Jones; and ten-year-old Cortez Morgan. (Photo: Gar Roberts)

— AARP Experience Corps, Baltimore City will celebrate “National Make a Difference Day” by hosting their 6th Annual Fall Literacy Festival at Furman L. Templeton Academy on Saturday, October 25, 2014. The festival is a semi- annual event for children and their parents to promote the importance and joy of reading and to celebrate literacy achievement in the city elementary schools served by AARP Experience Corps. The festival included literacy games, guest readers, music, crafts, book giveaways and refreshments.

AARP Experience Corps volunteer member Doug Hebard reads to eight-year-old Raymond Bowman and seven years-old Tyon Matthews.

AARP Experience Corps volunteer member Doug Hebard reads to eight-year-old Raymond Bowman and seven years-old Tyon Matthews.

The Baltimore City AARP Experience Corps’ program is the largest in the nation, serving over 7800 Pre-K through 3rd grade students in 30 Baltimore City Title 1 schools. Experience Corps’ volunteer members are seniors over 50 years old that engage students in an evidence based, one to one and small group model to improve literacy, reading scores and attendance. AARP Experience Corps Branch Director Bill Romani noted literacy benefits the whole community. "We know that reading and literacy is so important to the development of children and the development of children will strengthen the community, so what AARP Experience Corps does with their literacy festival, is to celebrate the joy of reading.”

The Annual Literacy Festival kicked off a week of events to identify new Experience Corps volunteer members who will “Make a Difference” in their communities by serving in schools throughout Baltimore.

Children, their parents, and families gathered for the Literacy Festival at the Furman L. Templeton Academy beginning at 10:30 am. Tariqa Merrick brought her son to the festival, “This is a nice event, to let my son know that just because he sees mom reading, that it is good for him to read too,” she said.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.