OASIS began 27 years ago as a vision—how can we keep
adults over the age of 50 mentally, physically and emotionally active
for the next stage of their lives? Marylen Mann, founder and chairman
of OASIS, first began with a program titled “Arts for Older Adults” and
from there grew the program into what would become the national
not-for-profit education organization for adults 50 and older, OASIS.
The organization is structured around three basic concepts: Life Long
Learning—the need to challenge the mind and continue personal growth;
Civic Engagement—the desire to devote one’s time, energy and experience
to meet community needs; and Healthy Lifestyle—the importance of
physical activity, nutrition and managing health risks to maintain an
independent, healthy lifestyle.
To accomplish these goals, Mann envisioned an
organization that would offer affordable classes to seniors, covering a
variety of contemporary topics, while also allowing programs in cities
nationwide the autonomy to work with its members at the local level,
creating the kinds of programs that meet the needs and interests of the
community. Mann will tell you that the organization is fueled by its
members, thousands of older adults who not only turn out for the
programs, they drive them with their wisdom, enthusiasm and new ideas.
OASIS offers a wide variety of programs from Arts &
Humanities to Health & Wellness. OASIS also offers programs in
today’s technologies, providing specially designed curriculum and
tools, enabling participants to feel comfortable with computers, and
teaching them skills they need to utilize technology effectively in
their own lives. OASIS also engages participants in meaningful
community service and uses many members as volunteers to help run the
OASIS programs are easy on the wallet—most classes are
affordable even for the most fixed of incomes. The OASIS Web site,
www.oasisnet.org, not only has the full schedule of classes, it also
has useful information that will enhance people's lives.
Interested? You can become a member by visiting the Web
site, and it’s free. Or just stop in at OASIS, weekdays from 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. Volunteers will be happy to assist would-be students on how they
can explore their interests, reviewing with them the variety of classes
offered at OASIS.
In addition to benefiting from the learning aspect, OASIS
programs also allow students to meet in a setting with like-minded
people and build lasting friendships. This program encourages older
adults to be active participants in life and maintain their
independence. OASIS offers a rewarding way to give back to the
community, while also offering opportunities for growth and learning
for a previously overlooked segment of the population.