Merger provides rich tutoring services for more Twin Cities children

Press Release
October 15, 2019

St. Paul, MN: East Side Learning Center (ESLC) is pleased to announce the acquisition of Quality Education Services (QES). Until the completion of the merger on Sept. 6, QES served as the local host for the AARP Foundation Experience Corps -Twin Cities (Experience Corps) program. The merger combines the literacy expertise of the two nonprofits with the rich volunteer training developed by the AARP Foundation Experience Corps

150506 XPC Boston Blue Hill 134Combined, the two organizations have 42 years of combined experience in literacy tutoring and mentoring services for Twin Cities children.  

“AARP Foundation Experience Corps is proud to welcome East Side Learning Center to our nationwide network of programs. The merger with our longtime affiliate, Quality Education Services, will ensure that Experience Corps can flourish in the Twin Cities for years to come,” said Keanne Henry, Vice President of AARP Foundation Experience Corps.

“This merger enhances ESLC’s ability to provide more children with rich tutoring and mentoring services,”  stated Chris Flippo, executive director, ESLC. “In the Twin Cities, we are struggling to support the many children who need foundational literacy and social-emotional skill development, so they are positioned to succeed in school and graduate.”

With this merger, ESLC staff can be more flexible with school partners in supporting their goals to improve literacy outcomes, and ultimately, higher graduation rates for children of color and those living in poverty.

Flippo added, “This flexibility is essential because no two schools serve the same children, and every family has unique needs that are better served together than in silos.”

Paul Simone, executive director of Quality Education Services, said, “With an expanded geographic footprint, a formal collaboration makes it possible to move forward with initiatives not previously addressed. We will have more resources dedicated to activities proven crucial for student success.”

Additionally, the combined staff hopes the merger will make it possible for children to have deeper, long-term, even multi-year relationships with the same tutors. Trusting relationships in education are shown to support greater academic and social emotional growth.

ESLC now becomes the host nonprofit for the AmeriCorps members who participate in the AARP Foundation Experience Corps program. In this program, adults (age 50-plus) are invited to become Literacy Mentors during and after school. Some opt to acquire additional hours by participating in ESLC’s summer programs. Tutors earn a monthly stipend and education award for  300 hours of volunteer service per year. To learn more about becoming a literacy mentor, visit

“I have been seeking a host nonprofit for the program for several years. East Side Learning Center was the perfect fit,” Paul Simone, former executive director and founder of Quality Education Services said. “The two nonprofits have a history of collaborating to meet the literacy needs of children in Saint Paul.” 

About East Side Learning Center: The non-sectarian nonprofit was founded In 2001 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). The SSNDs partnered with St. Paul civic and educational leaders to help children on the East Side. Driven by its mission of “unlocking each child’s potential through the foundation of reading,” ESLC provides free one-to-one reading tutoring for students, Pre-K through third grade, two to four days per week. ESLC partners with schools and organizations in the Twin Cities Metro Area. As an affiliate of the SSNDs and AARP Foundation Experience Corps, ESLC receives financial and administrative support from both organizations. ESLC is also proud to host Experience Corps members who are over 50 years old.

About Quality Education Services: Quality Education Services of MN, Inc., and its signature program, AARP Foundation Experience Corps - Twin Cities originated in a 1988 concept paper by John Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, who assisted in creating Medicare and the Older Americans Act. Gardner wanted to create an institution to mobilize the time, talent, and experience of older Americans to revitalize their communities. In 1995, Minneapolis was chosen as a pilot city. Until the merger, QES recruited, trained and deployed older adult volunteers (age 50-plus) to provide one-to-one tutoring and mentoring to support the literacy growth of Kindergarten through third grade students.

About AARP Foundation: AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connectedness. As AARP’s charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Bolstered by vigorous legal advocacy, we spark bold, innovative solutions that foster resilience, strengthen communities and restore hope. To learn more about AARP Foundation visit