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Looking for volunteers ages 50 and older

According to a press release, The Oasis Institute, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to enriching the lives of adults ages 50 and older, has announced growth in the largest intergenerational tutoring program in the United States, connecting retired individuals with opportunities to serve as literacy tutors in school districts across the country. More than 500 volunteers are needed now for Fall 2021 assignments in local school districts.

Tutors will serve students in kindergarten through third grade and will work with the same child for up to an hour each week. Oasis tutors use a six-step approach to literacy designed by educators that emphasizes improved reading, speaking, listening, and writing. All training and prepared lesson plans will be provided. Interested tutors should call 314-995-9506 or complete an online application at https://tutoring.oasisnet.org/become-a-tutor/. School districts can apply to participate in the program by calling 314-862-2933 ext. 251 or filling out an online form. Schools already participating in the program report upwards of 97 percent improvement in student reading levels.

The tutoring program has been a part of Oasis since 1989, though this year the need for volunteers is critical. The increase in tutoring services comes on the heels of a global pandemic that caused widespread academic delays for students and increased isolation for seniors. More than half of public K-12 educators say the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant loss of both academic and social-emotional learning for students, according to a March 2021 Horace Mann Educators Corporation report. The National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted by AARP and Michigan Medicine in June 2020 reported 56 percent of respondents over the age of 50 sometimes or often felt isolated, more than double the number in the same study from 2018. Involvement in a program such as Oasis, offers these seniors a way to stay connected to their community.

"Students need extra help right now," said Mary Click, National Intergenerational Tutoring Director. "This is an important moment in time, where we can harness the great wealth of experience and knowledge among our older adult population and bring one-on-one help to students in the classroom. We are excited to be able to connect our seniors and our students in an impactful way."

To date, 4500 tutors are registered to volunteer in 82 school districts nationwide, but many more are needed. Oasis also provides staff and volunteer support in each community served to work directly with school districts and tutors. Many volunteers will commit to spending up to one hour in person with children who need tutoring and mentoring help once each week throughout the 2021-22 school year. Others will participate virtually through online tutoring or through a pen pal program focused on writing skills.

"This program has proven results and for many students, it will be a lifeline that helps them succeed in the classroom," said Click. "And at the same time, we are making real human connections across generations and giving our seniors an outlet for sharing a lifetime of knowledge and a chance to form close bonds with the kids they are helping."

Interested tutors should call 314-995-9506 or complete an online application at https://tutoring.oasisnet.org/become-a-tutor/ . School districts can apply to participate in the program by calling 314-862-2933 ext. 251 or filling out an online form.

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