All Arizona School Retirees Association
Nancy Frank of Arizona, retired from teaching after 35 years of service and immediately began volunteering as a tutor for OASIS, a national education and service organization that brings people together to enrich lives and strengthen communities. Since 1990, she has tutored one to three students weekly every school year, sometimes going to two or three different schools each week. During her 19-year tenure, she has provided one-on-one tutoring to well over 100 students and has logged over 3,000 hours of volunteer service with youth in her community.
After the first five years of tutoring, Frank also became the District Coordinator for recruiting and training volunteer tutors. She then took over as the Volunteer Tutor Coordinator for OASIS at Washington Elementary School District for five years. During that time, Frank was training 15-20 adults each month. She helped inexperienced tutors select books, activities and strategies for building reading and writing skills. She also wrote a monthly newsletter for the tutors and continued her own tutoring work.
As a colleague from the All Arizona School Retirees Association in Phoenix stated, “It is impossible to estimate the number of tutors, school personnel and by extension the number of children she has touched in some way in her 19 continuous years of tutoring and tutor training. And while the benefits for the children may be measurable in terms of increased skills and self-esteem, the relationships built between tutor and child are invaluable.”
Michigan Association of RetiredSchool Personnel
As a volunteer lighthouse keeper on a remote island of St. Helena in the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan, MaryAnn Moore focuses on building a new generation of historic preservationists. Since 1992 she has worked with a variety of youth groups - Girl and Boy Scouts, 4-H and church groups - to help clean up and revitalize the site. When the youth come to help at the lighthouse, Moore helps them adjust to a 1910 lifestyle without running water or electricity. They build picnic tables, benches and fishnet drying reels. They also reconstruct the herb garden and collect debris, all the while using only hand tools and muscle.
The restoration of the area allows the youth to work cooperatively and to better value public property as they mature. The children learn to observe nature and appreciate the rugged existence of their ancestors. They adjust to a more laid back pace where everything takes twice as long without today’s conveniences. The children experience something new since Moore does not allow easy access to cell phones, television, computers and other “modern day necessities.” Youth come away from their time at St. Helena’s Lighthouse with pride for what they learned and accomplished as well as an appreciation for the history of the Great Lakes. Much of the thanks for those lessons learned go to MaryAnn Moore for helping them appreciate their history and the potential for the future.
Washington State School Retirees’ Association
Carol Payne, retired educator, volunteers in the small town of Okanogan, Washington, with a population off 2,400, 90 miles from the closest “large town” of Wenatchee with a population of 30,000.
Payne is an art docent for three second grade classes at the Virginia Grainger Elementary School where she visits each classroom at least once a month. As art docent, she introduces the students to famous artists and explains the period in which they painted. She teaches about artistic styles such as Vincent Van Gogh’s Dutch Post-Impressionism or George Seurat’s French Neo-Impressionism. Payne then has the second graders create their own art project that relates to the artist or to the paintings they have studied. She also exposes the children to working with various mediums including watercolor, crayons and lithographs. Rita Figlenski, President of the Washington State School Retirees’ Association and a resident of Okanogan, stated, “With the demands on elementary teachers to ready students for required testing, there is little time left for students to express themselves in non-academic ways.” That is what makes Payne’s work in the art program so valuable. She also encourages students to enter their art projects in the Youth Division at the County Fair because there is nothing like a ribbon – white, red or blue – to make a child feel proud and successful.
In addition to Payne’s volunteering for the Art Docent program, she helps each first and second grade reading class once a week. She is also called upon to judge performances at events like Grandparents’ Day.