City Hall Funds Tutoring Program to Connect Graying Boomers with At-Risk Kids

The city's elderly population is projected to jump to 17 percent.

Portland’s reputation as a laid-back escape for post-grad Californians persists, despite evidence to the contrary.

Meanwhile, the city is growing older. The population over 65 is expected to make up 17 percent of the Portland metro area by 2030, up from 11 percent in 2010, according to the AARP.

And City Hall, which officially declared Portland the first “Age-Friendly” city in 2014, is is taking its first concrete steps toward living up to that declaration.

As part of the budget passed last month, City Council will invest $200,000 a year, for two years, into a program called Metropolitan Family Services Experience PDX.

The program aims to connect older adults, aged 50-plus, as tutors with elementary-aged students at “academic risk.” The program is based off of the similarly named MFS Experience Corps, supported by the AARP.

And it comes with ambitious aims, including getting 80 third-graders to grade-level reading levels, providing 5,000 hours of service and reaching out to over 700 children.

Mentors will be stationed at four “low-resourced” elementary schools: Alder, Mill Park, Sacramento and Woodlawn.  

The program will also focus on recruiting on mentors from communities of color.

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