Merrie Courtright enjoyed a career in teaching and was still an active teacher at Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute, now Central New Mexico Community College, the first time she visited OASIS in 1996. “I was too busy with my teaching career at the time, but that visit definitely got me interested,” said Courtright.
When she retired from teaching Courtright became involved with OASIS partly because she felt it was a good transition from full-time employment to retired life.
“OASIS is just right for someone newly retired, which is a time that can be a little unsettled,” she said. “For me, OASIS provided camaraderie, a variety of ways to continue learning and an upbeat spirit.”
Courtright taught adults during her professional teaching career so she was pleased to put her degree in elementary education to work by volunteering as an OASIS tutor for the last eight years. “Although we come in to the school as reading tutors it is much more than that. We become mentors to these kids.”
Courtright enjoys using her teaching skills in a new way. “For that time each week I am able to teach yet I don’t have the same responsibilities as a full-time teacher.” She also uses those skills as a tutor trainer.
Courtright fills many volunteer roles for OASIS. “I like to be available when there is a need.” She is a day captain in the center, helps with registration, introduces OASIS speakers and leads a monthly book discussion group. “Our only rule is that the book must be available in paperback or through the library so we can keep the cost low for everyone,” she said.
Courtright also volunteers to make phone calls to OASIS donors. “People generally appreciate my calls. They know that their donations help OASIS keep offering quality programs at a reasonable cost.” This helps explain why Courtright is a loyal OASIS donor herself.