Those who know Glenda Gauss are surprised to learn that her Oasis tutoring journey began with some reluctance. She had some definite reservations because she never had children of her own and wasn’t terribly comfortable talking in front of people.
But her sister, Celena Hyde, an Oasis tutor as well, knew Glenda would be a perfect candidate to share the joy of reading with a child in need.
“My sister dragged me kicking and screaming to become an Oasis tutor,” admits Glenda. “I decided I was going to try it for one year. By the end of that year, I was in love. That was 12 years ago. Now I wouldn’t give it up for all the money in the world.”
Glenda has worked with more than 40 children as an Oasis tutor. Both she and her sister generally work with four students each year at Northwest School District’s House Springs Elementary School.
“If you’re going to be there for an hour and a half, you can just as easily give two hours,” she says. “When summer break comes around, I miss tutoring, and I always look forward to the fall when it’s time to start again.”
Although she is an Oasis tutoring veteran, Glenda recently signed up to participate in the program through RSVP. In 2014, The Oasis Institute received federal funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to sponsor the Senior Corps RSVP program in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. In 2017, Jefferson County was added to the Oasis grant portfolio.
Glenda and others participating in tutoring through RSVP have access to additional resources that enhance their tutoring experience. Senior Corps volunteers improve their lives through volunteering. A growing body of research points to mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteering, including lower mortality rates, increased strength and energy, decreased rates of depression and fewer physical limitations.
The week of April 29 – May 5 is celebrated as National Senior Corps Week and is an opportunity to honor Senior Corps RSVP volunteers. The Oasis model provides a unique opportunity for Senior Corps volunteers to connect with children through the intergenerational volunteer programs and use their lifetime of skills and experience to make a difference.
Oasis has over 400 RSVP Tutors serving in 10 school districts and we are currently recruiting for the 2018-19 school year. Current tutors like Glenda continue to be our best recruiters.
“Just do it,” she says. “Just try it. It will give you more satisfaction than anything else you ever do!”
Find out more about Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring and RSVP, by visiting our website.