"The participants in my classes are so enthusiastic, I can't give them enough information," says Dorothy Rossi, a volunteer OASIS instructor in Rochester, New York. This Renaissance women teaches one day each week at OASIS, offering classes ranging from Egyptology and mythology to Latin -- including a specialty Latin class for master gardeners.
"The students in my Latin classes are gung-ho. They stick around, do their work, and are a bonding group. I give them homework but I tell them 'You are all over 21. No one is going to be checking up on you.' Learning should be self-expanding and fun!"
Rossi taught in the public school system for 39 years before retiring in 2000. When asked to teach as a substitute in public schools she declined.
"All my students now are over 50," she says. "I enjoy the people, I love the subject matter, and if I can get people excited about it, it's very powerful."
Like many OASIS volunteers, Rossi's involvement has grown over time. Earlier this year she joined the Rochester advisory council, helping the organization with challenges like finding space and financial support. As OASIS prepares to introduce a national humanities program on the Immigrant Experience in 2008, she will help plan and coordinate the classes in Rochester.
Rossi finds the work exciting even if it is frustrating at times. "Our concept is to make education affordable for anyone who wants it. It's so important at this time of life."