Barbara Groneck feeds her soul as a volunteer

Working for a university nursing program, helping medical students schedule time at community health clinics, and finding housing for international graduate students were some of the jobs Barbara Groneck handled as administrative secretary for a local university.

So when Groneck retired, her desire to help others and enjoy people fit with the OASIS mission. As a volunteer with OASIS Friends, Barbara aids developmentally challenged older adults on trips to places like the Muny, St. Louis' outdoor theater, and fishing excursions at Forest Park. She is also available when they participate in classes such as music or painting.

"I learn from them and we have formed friendships. They feed my soul in different ways. This is spiritually rewarding," she said.

Groneck finds the adults to be very patient, appreciative people. They observe changes in society, but they remain interested in day to day happenings.

Groneck enjoys helping children learn to read as well. For seven years, she has read stories and played reading games with students as a St. Louis OASIS tutor. She believes that some students need extra attention from an adult. One student always drew cartoon sketches of his character "Stretchy." She delighted in his work and realized how important it was to him when she learned his sibling was quite ill.

Recently, Groneck began volunteering with a hospice program, again, in her helping others mode. She believes patients have wisdom to share at the end of life.

In addition to doing data entry of OASIS volunteer hours, Groneck participates in classes. As she headed out from this interview to join a Russian Dance class, Groneck boasted of the variety of OASIS classes and wonderful teachers for new learning experiences.

By Barbara Lindecke