Older adult tutors needed to tutor, mentor area youth

Angie Talken
Chillicothe News

Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring through an RSVP grant is now in Livingston County and is seeking older adults to serve as tutors and mentors to youth in area schools.

Pat Williams RSVP Coordinator for Livingston County said  Oasis hopes to partner with each of the school districts in Livingston County and is currently working with students at Bishop Hogan Memorial School.

“Oasis hopes to partner with each of the school districts in Livingston County — Chillicothe, Southwest of Ludlow and Chula. Bishop Hogan Memorial School is the first school to partner with Oasis and we are excited to get this program started,” Williams said. 

The program is meant to help children educationally but many times also serves as a mentoring situation as well.

“The tour becomes an older adult they can count on,” Williams said. “There are a lot of kids who can fall through the cracks in a variety of ways and this relationship between the student and tutor can help that child in a variety of ways. The tutor is a stop-gap for those children.”

With COVID-19 being an ongoing concern, tutoring is different this year and so is the training for those interested in tutoring.

“Under normal circumstances, tutors would work with children one-on-one in the school setting. But with the COVID-19 pandemic making in-person contact risky, Oasis has decided to instead focus on virtual tutoring for the school year,” Williams said.  “Volunteers will use video technology like Zoom to meet with children and help them improve their reading and language arts skills.”

Williams said any older adult who is willing to do the Zoom and provide other online training - no matter their background - is encouraged to become a volunteer tutor.

"I am looking for volunteers who are willing to devote one hour a week to improve the reading and language arts skills of a child and forming a relationship through tutoring and mentoring,” she said.  

Volunteers must be 55 or older, be able to pass a background check and have a "willingness to help kids.”

"Most volunteers, they volunteer because they have a need and a want and a desire to serve," Williams said. "If you're doing what's right for a kid, you'll never go wrong." 

Due to the social distancing, cancellation of many events and encouragement to avoid large gatherings, Williams said this may provide some with an outlet. 

“With many limiting their contact with the outside world and staying at home due to COVID-19, tutoring is a proven way to alleviate feelings of isolation,” she said.  "It could help with isolation and give you something to look forward to, especially for someone who doesn't get out as much.”

Williams said this Oasis, RSVP grant and program is not to be confused with the 55 and Go tutoring program in Livingston County.

“The RSVP grant, in years past, brought volunteering to Livingston County in the form of what is now known as 55 and Go, which is still going strong,” she said. “Oasis is the new sponsor of the RSVP Grant is 100% focused on tutoring.”

Oasis is a national non-profit based in St. Louis dedicated to promoting healthy aging through lifelong learning, active lifestyles and volunteer engagement. 

Its tutoring program pairs older adults with children in kindergarten through third grade to help improve literacy. In 2019, Oasis volunteers tutored children in 75 school districts across 40 states. 

"Oasis tutoring is a research-based intergenerational tutoring program and we're looking forward to doing great things in the Livingston County community," Williams said. "With plans to expand into other neighboring counties in Missouri soon."

Williams, a retired educator from Livingston County is excited to bring this program to all area schools. Williams, a Wheeling native and graduate retired from teaching after 33 years of service in Missouri schools. She later graduated from Missouri Western with a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in reading. She began her teaching career at Southwest of Ludlow teaching third grade before teaching sixth grade in Hale, fifth grade in Chillicothe and first grade in Gower.  

She also earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science and was the Library Media Specialist at East Buchanan, in Gower,  and as a retired teacher, the past two years at Chula.  

She is the RSVP Coordinator for Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring in Livingston County. 

Those interested in volunteering can learn more at https://tutoring.oasisnet.org/stl-oasis-rsvp/ or by contacting Williams at pwilliams@oasisnet.org or by calling 660-973-2168.