Pandemic Pivots for Older Volunteers: Online Tutoring and Pen Pal Programs
Through funding from the RRF Foundation, Oasis is in the midst of a three-year research partnership with Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work investigating the impact of volunteerism on different groups of Oasis Intergenerational Tutors.
Published in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work, the article Pandemic Pivots for Older Volunteers: Online Tutoring and Pen Pal Programs, by Peter C. Sun, Nancy Morrow-Howell & Elizabeth Pawloski, explores the impact of the pandemic and our shifts to remote delivery of tutoring and mentoring. A poster presentation was shared at the Gerontology Society of America conference, about the impact for volunteers through virtual engagement during the pandemic. This study continues for one more year, with the current year YEARS of looking at the return to in-person tutoring and its affect on our volunteers. This is a first step in demonstrating the Oasis Tutoring program as an evidence-based model for intergenerational engagement.
This study also explored variations in self-perceived benefits of intergenerational tutoring and consisted of 329 older adults who tutored children in person in the 2021–2022 school year in the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program.
Due to the COVID 19-pandemic, some of the respondents had experienced a period in which volunteering was remote, virtual, or not possible. Early results indicate that targeting first-time volunteers may maximize health benefits of engagement.