View our historical overview video with founder, Marylen Mann
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.