Lives changed through intergenerational tutoring

Chillicothe News

For more than 30 years, the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program has helped thousands of students improve literacy skills, experience academic success, and develop a lifelong love of reading. Partnering with school districts across the country, Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring is the largest older adult tutoring program in the U.S.

In 2019, Oasis tutors helped 21,000 children, in 630 schools in 82 districts across the country. More than 4,000 Oasis tutors volunteered in 14 different states in over 20 U.S. cities. In Missouri alone, over 1,800 tutors served 2,500 students, pre-pandemic.

This past year, Oasis received funding from the AmeriCorps Senior RSVP grant competition to expand the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program to Livingston County.

“Oasis Tutoring provides older adults with a unique volunteer experience to positively impact the lives of students in Kindergarten-3rd grade through a mentoring relationship focused on developing literacy confidence, competence, and enthusiasm,” says Oasis National Director of Tutoring Partnerships and Expansion Elizabeth Pawloski. “If you have one hour a week to give back to a child in Livingston County—now more than ever the students need your help!”

Pat Williams can attest. As a native of Livingston County and also Oasis RSVP Coordinator, Williams joined the Oasis Tutoring team after retiring from her full-time position as Library Media Specialist at East Buchanan. “I love connecting kids with good books and seeing them become good readers,” Williams said.

The pandemic caused many businesses and organizations to cease from normal operations. However, Williams' desire to help students become better readers and learners never ceased. “Oasis has allowed me continue to connect kids with good books. The program gives older adults the opportunity to mentor and tutor students, strengthening the students’ literacy skills. We make a difference,” she said.

Williams is a vital Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring team member, recruiting adults 50 years of age and older as volunteers for in-person and virtual tutoring as well as the organization’s new intergenerational program known as Postal Pen Pals. Pat’s work as the liaison between the tutors and the partnering schools ensures effective communication and support for the school, volunteers, and students.

Tutoring sessions are monitored weekly. “The interaction between the student and the tutor is impressive. Students look forward to those sessions as much as our tutors do. They read good stories together, work on words and tell stories. Both tutor and student gain from the interaction,” Williams said.

Oasis team members work together to provide volunteers the training they need to become the best tutors possible. Currently and due to the pandemic, several volunteers offer virtual tutoring at Bishop Hogan Memorial School, while the Postal Pen Pals program is underway at both Chula and Southwest School Districts.

County schools, students and older adults benefit from the enrichment opportunities Oasis Tutoring offers. “The programs help us to lean on each other and come together for the good of our students and older adults,” Williams said. “Everyone has the innate desire to be appreciated and cared for. That is where Oasis Tutoring starts. We give people something to look forward to every week in either a tutoring session that is conducted 1:1 or our Postal Pen Pals, which is a special letter that comes from a friend that wants to know about the other. Oasis helps create that special connection.”

If you are interested in becoming an Oasis volunteer tutor, contact Williams at pwilliams@oasisnet.org or 660-973-2168. To learn more about Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring, visit https://tutoring.oasisnet.org/stl-oasis-rsvp/.