New to Oasis? Here’s where to get to know us. From our mission to our history, to our catalog and volunteer opportunities, find quick references below.

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Our Mission

The mission of San Diego Oasis is to ensure that adults age 50+ have opportunities to pursue vibrant, healthy, productive and meaningful lives. We seek to positively impact their lives through partnerships to share knowledge, offer evidence- and research-based programs, conduct evaluations and adapt to meet the needs of diverse audiences.

Our approach includes the following key areas:

• Lifelong Learning
• Health and Wellness
• Community Involvement through intergenerational programs

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Sign up for weekly emails

Our weekly email is full of information about upcoming classes, special events, resources, partner information, announcements, and much more. It is the best way to stay up to date on everything going on at San Diego Oasis. In order to receive our weekly e-newsletters, we need you to opt in (basically, all that means is giving us permission). It is the only way you will be eligible to receive these informative communications. Sign up here>>

You can also follow us on social media:

Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

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Class Catalog

Our catalogs are typically released six times a year, and feature two months’ worth of classes: click here to find the most current catalog. Our program locations change each trimester based on where classes are offered; under pre-Covid conditions, we were typically at about 40 locations each trimester. We are currently conducting the majority of our classes at Oasis locations (Grossmont Center and Escondido Senior Center) and online.

If you are interested in becoming an instructor, you can fill out our online form or contact Brandon Harding, our Director of Lifelong Learning, at .

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Why Support Oasis?

It’s simple: when you give, we can grow. We are always striving to make your Oasis experience better and more informative, impactful, and far-reaching.  Whether it’s for yourself or our community, we want to be your go-to when you think about staying engaged, getting or staying fit and active, preventing social isolation, creating community, and supporting those in need through our Tutoring program and our Digital Divide program.

By giving, you ensure our programs will continue to grow and make our community better. If you are interested in learning more about Legacy Circle, Honor Society, Tribute Gifts, Stocks & Bonds, Vehicle Donation, Crypto-currency and more, please contact Jolyn Parker, VP External Relations, at .

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Monthly Giving

Join our new community of monthly donors who are making an impact on the seniors in our community! Sign up for a monthly donation that adds up to a major gift at the end of each year. Becoming a monthly donor has never been easier!  Questions? Contact Geordyn Coker at .

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

We want to make San Diego Oasis a safer, more inclusive, and diverse space starting with diversifying our membership, classes and class materials, committing to an anti-racist framework, affirming LGBT identities, and addressing accessibility.

Learn why we feel Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are important at Oasis by reading our Mission Statement, our Code of Conduct, browse our FAQ’s, or even help us bring awareness by sharing your story.  Click here to learn more>>

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to Sydney Folsom, Diversity Outreach Coordinator, at .

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Intergenerational Tutoring

Our Intergenerational Literacy Tutoring Program impacts at-risk, low-income elementary school students by providing free books to encourage a love of reading and pairing one older adult tutor with a student who meet once a week for one hour – the same team for the entire school year – creating a bond we like to refer to as “the grandparent effect.” Due to COVID-related school closures, UNESCO anticipates a 20% increase in children falling behind the minimum proficiency level in reading, which makes our work more important than ever. Our volunteer tutors work with children to build their reading skills and confidence, providing a steady, positive influence throughout the school year. Students need us now more than ever. If you are interested in joining or supporting our tutoring program, please contact Kristen Amicone, Director of Intergenerational Programs, at .

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Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers at Oasis are invaluable, and the benefits are mutual. Volunteers have worthwhile experiences when they donate their time and talents to help the staff and faculty function as a community resource.

We have a variety of needs and offerings to choose from, including Center Volunteers, Instructors, Ambassadors, and Lecture hosts. Whether you choose to volunteer on a regular basis, or on an “as needed” basis, we’d love to have you!

Reach out to Amy O’Connor, Director of Operations & Volunteer Programs, via phone at (619) 881-6262 or email at to learn how you can get involved.

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Digital Divide Program

San Diego Oasis keeps low-income seniors healthy, productive and connected through its Digital Divide Program by working to identify those in need who may not have access to technology, are isolated, or who aren’t tech-savvy. At no cost to the recipients, San Diego Oasis provides a Samsung tablet, internet for 12 months, and training to learn how to engage with technology upon receiving their new device. A coupon is also provided for several free San Diego Oasis classes to not only offer active learning, but also engage with other local older adults.

This Digital Divide Program is only available through qualifying partnerships. If you are interested in learning more or supporting this important program, please contact David Beevers, North County Manager, at .

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Our 50/50 Revenue Source

As a non-profit organization, all revenue received is put directly back into the organization. We have two revenue streams:

• 50% comes through program revenue (such as trimester and class fees).

• 50% comes through donations and fund-raising.

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Our Fee Structure

Why are some classes free and others have a fee? We strive to provide a wide range of opportunities for our members to attend our classes. We are fortunate to work with libraries throughout San Diego County, as well as providing a variety of sponsor-provided classes, volunteer instructor-led classes, and Oasis-sponsored special events, such as our Speaker Series. The vast majority of these are offered free of charge. In instances where we have to pay instructors, the classes are assigned a class fee to help cover the cost of our instructors.

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How to Reach Our Team

Simona Valanciute | President & CEO

Jolyn Parker | VP External Relations

Amy O’Connor | Director of Operations & Volunteer Programs

Brandon Harding | Director of Lifelong Learning

David Beevers | North County Program Director

Kristen Amicone | Director of Intergenerational Programs

Sydney Folsom | Diversity Outreach Coordinator

Geordyn Coker | Development Manager – Individual Giving

Kelly Johnson | Marketing | Design | Web

Nancy Hannify | North County Office Manager

Raul Bernal-Gonzalez | Technology Learning Specialist

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Our History

1982 | The Oasis concept, created by Marylen Mann in partnership with the May Company Foundation, was launched as a public-private partnership operating in donated space at May Company stores, to create a place for older adults to continue learning through high quality programs. The success of Oasis programs in St. Louis led to expansion in other major U.S. cities.

1987 | San Diego Oasis is established with the help of Sister Mary Jo Anderson, VP of Community Relations at Scripps Mercy, and Jerome Loeb, Chairman of May Department Stores, at Robinsons-May in Horton Plaza. The launch was possible due to a triple partnership, each contributing funds: May Company, San Diego County’s Aging & Independence Services, as well as Mercy Hospital.

1990 | Escondido Oasis, a separate chapter in San Diego County, is established in partnership with the City of Escondido and Palomar/Pomerado Hospitals (now Palomar Health).

1991 | The Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring Program is launched in San Diego and Escondido, recruiting older adult volunteers to work with at-risk elementary school students, providing literacy tutoring and improving self-esteem.

1998 | In partnership with AT&T, San Diego and Escondido Oasis start Connections, a program to address the growing desire of older adults to learn the world of technology. Each center creates a computer lab to accommodate the demand for classes. In 2016, the Lions Club of Downtown San Diego provides a matching donation to supply 15 new laptops.

1999 | San Diego Oasis relocates to Macy’s Mission Valley, Third Floor.

2006 | While Macy’s continues to offer donated space, it also begins to close stores, leaving some locations looking for new spaces. Escondido Oasis loses its space, and The City of Escondido offers space in its Joslyn Senior Center/Park Avenue Community Center, where we continue a full-time Oasis center today.

2012 | Simona Valanciute is named San Diego Oasis Regional Executive Director, tasked with merging San Diego and Escondido into one organization. Still maintaining two offices in Mission Valley and Escondido, all operations are merged into one 501(c)3 regional nonprofit organization. Simona develops an expanded board of directors and a local strategic and fundraising plan to sustain and grow the organization.

2017 | San Diego Oasis builds two new centers at Grossmont Center: Oasis Wellness Center and Oasis Lifelong Learning Center, which, for the first time, includes an Arts Studio and updated technology in every classroom, allowing for expanded creativity and growth.

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If you’ve yet to visit our La Mesa facilities in person, take a virtual tour>>