Sharon Fine Leads and “Gets in the Trenches”

When Sharon Fine was asked to assume a leadership role in the West San Fernando Valley OASIS Intergenerational tutoring program, she accepted without hesitation because she saw it as an opportunity to use her background in teaching to help children in the area.  “I didn’t realize how extensive my role would become, but it’s very rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it,” she says.

Fine serves as the coordinator/trainer of the West San Fernando Valley OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring Program. The program is unique because it is one of two in the Los Angeles area that is led by a volunteer coordinator/trainer who manages the program, recruits and trains the tutors and oversees the school-based lead tutors.

Fine was asked to get involved in the program about four years ago because there wasn’t an OASIS tutoring program in the West Valley. At the time, she was serving as an OASIS volunteer at a local junior college, helping class instructors with set up, registration and other activities. The OASIS director at that time knew of Fine’s teaching background and asked her to help establish the tutoring program.

“I started out participating in the tutor training and attending meetings to find out how we could make the program work,” she says. “I realized this would be a wonderful way to reach more children and really make an impact when the children are young.”

Kim Rathman, executive director for Pacific Region OASIS, says the tutoring program in West San Fernando Valley and the other program run by a volunteer coordinator in Baldwin Hills wouldn’t exist it if weren’t for the volunteer coordinators.

“These programs work because they are self-directed by motivated, dedicated people,” Rathman says. “They are good at team building, they understand how to work together, and they do everything from organizing the program to getting reports from the principals.”

Fine says the program also is successful because of all the dedicated tutors and school-based lead tutors. “They love what they are doing and are willing to help in any way they’re needed,” she says.

Although Fine serves primarily in a leadership role for the program, she still manages to get “in the trenches” from time to time because she serves as a substitute tutor when someone is absent. She’s so passionate about the program that she’s even recruited her husband, Bob Stiles, who currently serves as a tutor to five children.

“I retired from teaching after 23 years and I really enjoy children,” she says. “This is a perfect outlet for my background.”