Growth comes from a place of being uncomfortable.

Most of us have spent our time since March staying home, staying safe and staying uncomfortable.

Oasis Intergenerational tutoring is no exception.  We are an in-school program, utilizing the magic of real books for a one on one in person tutoring program. Our primary mission is to offer older adults a meaningful volunteer opportunity to decease their social isolation. We have been successful in schools across the country for over 31 years pairing trained older adults to work with K-3 grade students that need additional support with literacy skills.

Enter COVID 19, the schools shutting down in March and the longest spring break ever!

We had to quickly figure out a way to keep our Oasis tutors active and engages in a virtual way and how we could mirror the in-person tutoring experience.


Thankfully, we had an existing partnership last summer with the St. Louis County library to offer FREE in-person tutoring at 2 of their branches and had BIG plans to increase to 9 branches this summer.  We were able to pivot our plans and offer free virtual tutoring sessions as a pilot with our existing tutors.

And after 300 total tutoring sessions in 6 weeks—we learned a lot!

  • Kids are accustomed to learning online.
  • Intergenerational connections happened.
  • Tutors confidence in their own technical skills increased.

After this successful pilot– we are offering Oasis Tutoring to school districts in a virtual format for the 2020-21 school year.  Tutors will connect to students onscreen using a combination of a video conferencing and a reading platform.

Virtual Tutoring is not for everyone.  We also developed a low-tech Pen Pal program for tutors who do not want to utilize technology but can remain involved.

While older adult volunteer programs across the nation simply shut down after COVID-19 – we knew we had to get out of our comfort zones and pivot our tutoring program to a virtual model. Our tutors, the school districts and their students needed us more than ever. And other volunteer programs across the nation took notice. I was honored to be a guest on an episode of the second season of the Time and Talent Volunteer Management podcast to share what we learned about pivoting our program. If you have a few minutes—take a listen.

Time and Talent Podcast link

Elizabeth Pawloski during Podcast

Written by Elizabeth Pawloski, National Director – Tutoring Partnerships and Expansion

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