FiftyForward Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) is an intergenerational volunteer tutoring program that matches older adults with elementary age children who need extra support in reading or math. A division of the FiftyForward Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), FLIP serves 12 Williamson County and Franklin Special School District schools and is based out of the FiftyForward Martin Center in Brentwood, Tenn.
FiftyForward FLIP was proud to nominate volunteer tutor Kris Hagen for the Franklin Tomorrow Volunteer Spirit Award. Kris is a longtime Franklin resident and has served as a FLIP tutor with the Franklin Special School District for 10 years. She began her service at Johnson Elementary and is currently a tutor at Franklin Elementary where she works with students, one-on-one once a week throughout the school year.
In addition to her dedicated service to her assigned students at Franklin Elementary, Hagen volunteers with NHC Franklin as a peer reader for residents who are sight challenged. She also handcrafts 15-30 greeting cards per month, which she distributes to friends and family on their birthdays.
When asked about her dedication to literacy, older adults and children, Hagen responds, “It was a simple choice for me. When I was recovering from heart surgery I did my rehabilitation work at NHC; while there I witnessed the good work volunteers were doing, to give those with vision impairment the opportunity to continue reading, even if they couldn’t read themselves. I decided then that as soon as I fully recuperated I wanted to give some of my time to reading to those who needed a little assistance.” Immediately upon returning home Hagen did just that and continues to read to NHC residents to this day.
As she returned to social and civic activities following her surgery, Hagen heard about FLIP during a luncheon at FiftyForward Martin Center. The FLIP program helped round out her desire to combine a love of reading with humanitarian efforts. “As soon as I heard about FLIP I knew it was a chance to develop a life-long love of reading in young children. I was excited about the possibilities from the beginning.”
As a FLIP volunteer Hagen is very active with her students, taking a great interest in the mentor aspect of the relationship, as well as the academic boost she offers through her time and coaching. “These kids just need someone to talk to, someone to take an interest in their daily lives. It’s a real joy to go in and see them improve not only with their reading, but their communication skills in general. I love working with them throughout the year, seeing the results of our time together.”
Miriam Hyman, literacy coach and Franklin Elementary School point of contact, states, “Kris’s enthusiasm for working with the students is luminous. It is so apparent, in all she does, that her heart and soul is invested in these children. She is a bright light in our school community; we are so honored to have her as a FLIP tutor!”
At 87 years young, Hagen is a lifelong learner whose enthusiasm for reading and life is contagious. FiftyForward is proud to nominate her as a volunteer who embodies the heart of service and serves as a role model for community engagement.
In addition to federal funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service, FLIP is supported financially by the United Way of Williamson County, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Dan & Margaret Maddox Charitable Trust and Publix Super Markets Charities.
For information about serving as a FLIP volunteer tutor in Williamson County contact Shannon Freeman at 615-376-4334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established in 1956, FiftyForward supports, champions and enhances life for those 50 and older. As a nonprofit operating seven lifelong learning centers –- two in Williamson and five in Davidson County -– FiftyForward offers educational, health and wellness, arts and volunteer programs to engage older adults. FiftyForward also provides comprehensive supportive services and access to resources including FiftyForward Adult Day Services, FiftyForward Meals on Wheels as well as the FiftyForward Care Team offering care assessment and services for older adults. FiftyForward Travel offers adventures (regional and international) and the Senior Center for the Arts and The Larry Keeton Theatre, a subsidiary of FiftyForward, feature performing arts for all ages. Get social with us – friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Learn more about FiftyForward resources and volunteer opportunities by visiting: www.fiftyforward.org.
About FiftyForward RSVP:
The FiftyForward Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) engages adults age 55+ as elementary school tutors through the popular Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) program and as volunteers at FiftyForward Meals on Wheels. RSVP is a division of Senior Corps, a federal agency dedicated to engaging older adults in service to their community.