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An overview and critique of the experience corps for independent living initiative

This article presents findings of the evaluation of the Experience Corps for Independent Living (ECIL) initiative. The ECIL initiative was a two-year demonstration program designed to test innovative ways to use the experience, time, and resources of volunteers over 55 to expand significantly the size and scope of volunteer efforts on behalf of independent living services for frail older people and their caregivers in specific communities. Six demonstration projects were selected to participate in this initiative. The intensive volunteers, the critical component of the program, were more highly skilled than typical volunteers from existing senior volunteer programs. ECIL volunteers collaborated with agency partners to develop new programs, supervise direct service activities, and enhance the performance of the agencies being served. Although the projects addressed many of the goals of the initiative, they did not fully accomplish all of their objectives. The ECIL initiative was particularly successful in providing independent living services to frail elders and their families in the communities served. It was less successful in developing and maintaining the team and corps concept, in attracting and retaining the anticipated numbers of volunteers during the study period, and in becoming self-sufficient by the end of Year Three


Rabiner, D., Koetse, E., Nemo, B., & Helfer, C. R. (2003). An overview and critique of the experience corps for independent living initiative. Journal of Aging and Social Policy, 15(1), 55-78.