Cynthia Singleton’s approach to deciding how she would spend her newfound freedom after retirement was pretty business-like.
“I created a spreadsheet to compare all of the programs that were available, to see what they offered,” she says. “I ended up choosing Oasis because it had a focus on education.”
That was eight years ago. She started off as a tutor with the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program in the Los Angeles Unified School District, helping children improve their reading skills.
One year in, Cynthia’s involvement deepened as she took on the role of tutor coordinator for Pacific Region Oasis in Los Angeles. Her role is crucial to the success of the program in the eight elementary schools she serves, providing coordination and support for nearly 50 tutors each year.
“When I retired, I said to myself, ‘I want to be happy and have fun,’” Cynthia says. “Being a tutor coordinator makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.”
Doing something worthwhile
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Being an effective tutor coordinator takes commitment, as well as some good management and people skills. She likens the role to a den mother of sorts, with a lot of administrative skills mixed in.
“I ‘touch’ the job nearly every day, usually about three hours per day,” she says. In addition to still doing her own tutoring and substituting for other tutors as needed, Cynthia maintains good relationships with all of the principals, helps solve problems and most importantly, supports tutors who are doing critical work with students every day. She says watching them develop right along with the children they are helping is very rewarding.
“The skills tutors really need to be successful include: professionalism, flexibility, patience and empathy. The empathy is really important, especially when working with teachers who are serving a lot of children each day.”
For anyone on the fence about becoming an Oasis tutor, Cynthia has an answer.
“It’s the most rewarding thing you can do,” she says. “Come out of yourself and do something for someone else. We have to step up to the plate to help these children. There is never a dull moment. I find myself laughing all the time! If you want to be happy, give back and become a tutor.”
Building a national community to connect the generations
Cynthia is one of more than 5,000 Oasis tutors across the country who are committed to helping children succeed. There is great need for more volunteers to help kids.
That's why Oasis has partnered with Generation to Generation, a national campaign that aims to mobilize one million adults age 50+ over five years to support young people.
Whether you are a tutor now, are thinking about tutoring or want to know more about ways to help kids, the Generation to Generation community is a great way to find out about how you can share your knowledge and experience with younger generations.
Join us in making the Generation to Generation pledge to help kids thrive.
You can learn more about becoming an Oasis tutor at Oasisnet.org/Tutoring.