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Bonding with students makes tutoring all worthwhile

Karen Priest feels very fortunate to “power change in the community” by working as an OASIS tutor at Meramec Elementary on the south side of St. Louis.

“Working with these children who so desperately need reading help is what needs to be done,” Karen says, and she knows she’s making a difference for these kids through “this fabulous program.”

Karen worked in a New York City law firm before moving to St. Louis for a position at the former Centerre Bank, where she retired from in 1991. She has been tutoring for a total of ten years, but only the last two as an OASIS tutor.

 “I had already been tutoring on my own for Meramec for eight years when I got an email from OASIS for help with summer school students,” she said. “Signing up was predicated on attending OASIS training sessions, so I did. I walked in, not sure what if anything I could learn, and was utterly blown away!”

Karen is now working with six students twice a week instead of working with every first grader in the school. “What a difference in terms of being able to measure results!” she says.   

The bonds forged with the children are priceless, Karen says. “A few years ago I was tutoring a boy in first grade. He wanted to continue working with me. Then, this summer I saw him come through the door for summer school,” she said.  “When he found out I would be working with him in summer school his eyes lit up. He then wrote in his journal that the best surprise he could receive would be if ‘Miss Karen’ gets to work with me when school starts up again at Meramec.”

That, Karen says, makes it all worthwhile.

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