Volunteer Opportunities through CRA

Volunteers are welcome throughout the year. Consider volunteering to support this valuable service to the community.


Cornell Retirees Volunteering in Schools (CRVIS)

What is "CRVIS?"

The Cornell Retirees Volunteering in Schools program (CRVIS) provides an opportunity for Cornell and community retirees to serve as mentors and aides for children in local elementary schools. The program — operated by and for retirees who want to give something back to the community — receives financial and administrative support from Cornell University.


To make a difference in the lives of school children by enhancing and enriching their educational experiences. 


Retirees have gained much from their community over the years and are in the position to give something in return. They can contribute significantly to the betterment of the community through volunteerism and service. 

Who are we and what do we do

We are volunteers who give our time and attention to children who may need extra help in reading, math, homework, or other activities. Those of us with interests in special areas — such as science, nature, gardening, music, or arts and crafts —are encouraged to present hands-on projects. We come from various work and life experiences. No one receives compensation, but we all find that making a difference in a child's life is reward enough!

Volunteer positions

Various types of positions are available at each school. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • cafeteria monitors
  • playground (recess) monitors
  • classroom aides
    • small group setting
    • one-on-one attention
    • general assistance
  • art room assistants 

Volunteers may help in these areas: 

  • reading books to young children
  • chaperoning field trips
  • homework club (math, reading, etc)
  • science enrichment or experiments
  • fossil or bird identification nature walks
  • special projects 

If you have special talents or interests and have ideas on how we can utilize your knowledge and skills, please let us know. All suggestions are welcome. Retirees are encouraged to get involved in special projects, which may include: arts, crafts, music, foreign language, plays, travel, gardening, etc. Our school liaisons work with teachers to and the best t to match the needs of the children with our volunteers 

Setting a volunteer schedule

In late September or early October, the CRVIS liaison for each school will arrange an open house or meetings where volunteers and teachers are able to get together and talk about the interests of the volunteer and what help is needed in the classroom. You can volunteer one hour a day, or more – up to a full school day – whether one day or more per week. You and the teacher will set your schedule.

Choosing the school we serve

Each of us decides which school we want to serve in. CRVIS volunteers currently serve youngsters in the following local elementary schools: Belle Sherman, Cayuga Heights, Enfield, Fall Creek, Freeville, Northeast, and Trumansburg. If you are interested in the possibility of helping in a school that is not listed contact us.

Is the CRVIS program important?

We certainly think so. Many elementary children benefit from individual attention and do much better in school. It makes a big difference to a child to have someone readily available to work one-on-one or with a small group.

Here's how you can get involved

Contact the Work Life team at (607) 255-0388 or worklife@cornell.edu.

History of the program

Beginning in May 1995, Cornell retirees held meetings to discuss the implementation of a National Retiree Volunteer Coalition at Cornell University. A steering committee was formed and the members decided that they wanted to help children aged 5-12 in the local school system.

The program, which officially began during the 1996-1997 school year, was named Cornell Retirees Volunteering in Service (CRVIS– pronounced “Service”) and was piloted at Cayuga Heights. In 2005, the name was changed to Cornell Retirees Volunteering in Schools, to more accurately reflect the work being done.

CRVIS continues to expand into local schools as requests for the program are received and reviewed, provided that there are volunteers available to serve in the new school.