Oasis turns 40 this year!
Oasis was founded in 1982 by Marylen Mann in St. Louis, Missouri. Shortly thereafter Oasis expanded to a national organization opening additional centers in Baltimore, Cleveland and Los Angeles. Today, Oasis supports over 587,000 older adults serving more than 200 communities in 33 states.
The story of Oasis began with Marylen spending a day in senior centers visiting with older adults as they made crafts, played bingo and sat idly around the rooms. Marylen saw a world of potential going to waste. She begged the question, “Why should the people in these centers, who had raised families and held productive jobs, have such limited opportunities as they aged?”
At the end of the day, Mann remarked, “We can do better for older adults.”
After touring more senior centers across the city and observing much of the same, an advisory committee for programming ideas and support was formed. Instructors from local colleges taught poetry, painting and drawing. Lecturers led book discussions, conducted history classes on the times in which their students had lived and facilitated conversations about current events. The best of the classes were intergenerational—events that brought together older adults and adolescents.
In 1982, with a small demonstration grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging, Marylen founded Oasis and became a pioneer in healthy aging during a time when it was difficult to fight for people who were a low priority for decision makers in government, business and philanthropic organizations.
Marylen set out to “do better” for older adults, and that is exactly what she did through Oasis.
Join us as we celebrate 40 years of impact and service to older adults. You are an integral part of the Oasis family through your participation in classes, volunteerism, and support of your local Oasis and Oasis Everywhere virtual learning. Keep an eye out for more activities commemorating 40 years and help us grow by spreading the word!