HARRIS' HEROES

Elderly tutors help the youngest students

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At Orr Elementary School in Southeast Washington, some of the youngest people are getting help from the most mature.

A program supported by AARP and Experience Corp. pairs adult tutors with elementary students to help improve literacy rates in underserved schools.

The literacy program takes place at several D.C. public schools. Nationwide, more than 2,000 volunteers help more than 20,000 students.

The tutors come from all walks of life and have high hopes for their students.

“Some of them say they want to be teachers, nurses, football players, doctors, lawyers and I want them to be able to continue on that path,” says tutor Barbara Morgan.

Nationwide, 70 percent of 4th grade children are unable to read at grade level.

At Orr, principal Michelle Edwards says her children are thriving by having the tutors around.

“It's good to have wisdom in the building,” Edwards says.

And not just for the students.

“I attended D.C. public schools and I wanted to give back to DCPS,” says tutor Felicia Burton.

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