Oasis needs volunteers

PHOTO PROVIDEDThis garden at Church of Christ on Cogan Ave. was planted by children in the Oasis Project.

PLATTSBURGH — The Oasis Project makes a difference in the lives of the county's most vulnerable children, and it needs volunteers to continue to do so.


In its fourth year, Oasis is a community-based program of the Interfaith Council of Plattsburgh and Clinton County.

Its mission is to provide educational, literacy, and social support for homeless children.

Volunteers work in teams with children in this after-school program, which provides access to learning resources, modeling good study habits, offering tutoring as needed, and encouraging family participation and engagement.

Starr Burke came up with the idea for the intervention program, which was coined by former Rabbi Kari Tuling of Temple Beth Israel.

“Children who are in a homeless situation after school might be going back to a hotel room or to their uncle's house or their grandmother's," Dorothy Latta, a board member, said.

"They are not in a stable household. There's nothing for them to do. They don't have any social support.”


Last year, Oasis served 15 youths between ages 6 and 18.

Its vision “is to impact generational poverty, to promote self-sufficiency, and to support children in unstable housing situations to be successful in school.”

On Tuesday and Thursday, the project meets at the Church of Christ, 77 Cogan Ave. in Plattsburgh.

“The way it operates is that we provide transportation to the school,” Latta said.

“We provided a bus to the school to pick the children up right after school. They take them to the site.”


Vetted volunteers work in teams with the students on their homework, reading skills and social interaction.

“The bus, then, takes the children back to their residence at the end of the program,” Latta said.

“All the kids are referred to the program either from Social Services or the school. The feedback we've gotten has been very good. This is anecdotal, there's been an improvement in their reading skills. They are more engaged with the school, in their classes.”

Oasis provides a light snack to the children.

“All the volunteers have to go undergo a background check and some specific training," she said.

"The training deals somewhat with poverty, of what children living in a situation, what it's like for them. We're not training volunteers how to teach or anything like that.”


If the children move into a stable household setting, they can still remain in the program with their parental consent.

“The parents are totally involved,” Latta said.

“The parents have to consent to this.”

Donations can be made to support the Oasis Project to assist with operational costs including background checks, insurance, transportation, snacks, teaching, etc.

Mail donations to The Oasis Project, P.O. Box 1986, Plattsburgh, NY 12901.

To volunteer, contact: oasisprojectmessages@gmail.com


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