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What participants say

"I enjoy the topics. They are interesting and I enjoy the people.”
Alberta, 87
"I learn things by being with the group.”
Pauline, 78
"Ms. Berry (peer leader) makes it interesting how she interacts. She has a good personality and I enjoy coming.” 
Mattie, 78
“Ms. Berry is a very wonderful person, cheerful, kind and makes you want to come back. I enjoy everyone.”
Minnie, 67
Fostering community connections

"People develop a more positive outlook just by sharing with each other, says Mattie Berry, one of the peer group leaders. It’s a non- threatening, supportive atmosphere. Everybody’s opinion is valued.”
The Peers for Productive Aging overview provides more details on the program.

OASIS Peers for Productive Aging helps older adults cope better with life’s transitions and reconnect with their community.

One of the greatest challenges of retirement and later life is a decline in social support as older adults begin to lose touch with co-workers, friends or family.

Since 2006,OASIS “Peer-Led Discussion Groups” have assisted people in this life transition. Volunteers are trained to serve as peer leaders and facilitate discussions on topics of emotional, spiritual, physical wellness and social interest.

Research shows that group and activity-based methods are more effective in reducing feelings of isolation than those that are individual-based and non-participatory. The groups meet at least once a month for 45-60 minutes at various locations.

Currently, the peer-led discussion group program is only offered in St. Louis, MO. However, thanks to a grant from AARP Foundation, OASIS is conducting additional research to establish it as an evidence-based method for reducing social isolation among older adults. Once proven effective, the program can be disseminated across the country through the OASIS network.

To learn more about the Peers for Productive Aging program, contact Sarah Lovegreen, National Health DIrector, at (314) 862-4895 ext. 25, or

Interested in volunteering as a Discussion Group Leader? 

Here are the expectations: 

  • At least a one-year commitment
  • Being dependable
  • Access to reliable transportation
  • Respect for diverse opinions and clear sense of boundaries

Volunteers will host at least one site but have the option to host multiple groups. The role includes handling light administrative work and assisting in periodic evaluations of the program. 

Our current areas in need are: St. Louis City (North), St. Louis County (North), and St. Charles.

To volunteer as a Discussion Group Leader, or learn about other ways you can get involved, contact Crystal Foster at (314) 991-2055 ext. 131, or

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