June 13, 2022 - The Oasis Institute, a nonprofit educational organization that promotes healthy aging through lifelong learning, active lifestyles and service, has announced new components to their intergenerational tutoring program, the largest initiative of its kind in the United States. In response to widespread education disruption over the past two years, the organization has enhanced training for tutors to include instruction in mentoring and Social Emotional Learning in preparation for the 2022–23 school year. In honor of the organization’s 40th anniversary, Oasis hopes to recruit 40 tutors a week in June and July for Fall 2022 assignments in school districts nationwide.
Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring has positively impacted over 525,000 children since its inception in 1989, and has been implemented in more than 100 school districts across the country. The award-winning volunteer program pairs older adults with children in grades K-3 to work one-on-one each week not only as tutors, but as mentors and positive role models. Initial and ongoing training, as well as a wealth of online resources, is provided to tutors on a variety of topics including; increasing confidence, motivation and enjoyment of reading and writing; trauma sensitivity and restorative practices; a six-step approach to literacy curriculum developed by educators; and new this year, training in Social Emotional Learning.
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According to Mental Health America, 1 in 5 young people experience mental health problems. However, studies show the COVID-19 pandemic may have heightened “an already growing crisis in youth mental health.” Social Emotional Learning or SEL helps children understand and experience their emotions, allowing them to develop a healthy sense of self and empathy for others. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL can contribute to better mental health.
“Our tutors have always served as mentors, but this year, we wanted to place a special emphasis on training in areas such as mentoring and social and emotional wellbeing,” said Mary Click, National Intergenerational Tutoring Director. “With many students needing extra support both academically and emotionally, we believe this additional component to the program continues to provide much needed attention to participating students.”
In line with the nonprofit’s mission to enrich the lives of adults 50+, the tutoring program also provides seniors with an outlet for sharing their lifetime of knowledge in a meaningful way, helping them connect and remain active members in their local communities. In fact, 97% of Oasis tutors felt volunteering in the program added a purposeful element to their lives. With the program operating again fully in person, and the need as great as ever, Oasis hopes this year will see the return of former tutors as well as new faces.
“The tutoring program allows intergenerational connectivity to thrive, impacting both students and older adults in a deeply meaningful way,” said Paul Weiss, PhD, President of the Oasis Institute. “We are immensely grateful to our volunteers that have continued with this program, adapting to online learning and continuing to be flexible throughout these past few years. Now, as we plan for the 2022–23 school year operating at full-capacity, it is more important than ever that we rise to the occasion with committed volunteers, ready to help teachers catch kids up academically.”
Tutors will be placed in school districts the first week of October 2022. Interested tutors can call 314-995-9506 or complete an online interest form at https://tutoring.oasisnet.org/become-a-tutor/. School districts can apply to participate in the program by calling 314-862-2933 ext. 231 or filling out an online form.
The Oasis Institute is a national nonprofit organization in St. Louis, Missouri, founded in 1982, centered on a mission to serve adults ages 50 and over, during a time when many programs for older adults were oriented around childish games and passive activities. Today, 40 years later, The Oasis Network includes the Oasis headquarters in St. Louis, a national network of nine educational centers, spanning the country coast to coast, and program partners in nearly 250 communities across the country. Oasis’ tutoring program serves older adults interested in teaching or mentoring through partnerships in education and school districts. Our volunteer programs help older adults fulfill the satisfaction of joy that comes with giving back to their communities. Find more information about the Oasis Institute on Facebook at @OasisInstitute, on Twitter at @OasisInstitute, on LinkedIn at The Oasis Institute, or via their website www.oasisnet.org.