Greenfield Community College is located in the Pioneer Valley and leads the state in retention and graduation rates among community colleges. One of the more innovative ways they accomplish this feat is by matching students with older adults living in the area. They have recently launched Older Adults Seeking, Inspiring and Serving (OASIS), a volunteer program that engages local seniors who feel a strong connection to the GCC community. One important part of OASIS is the mentoring program, which recruits and trains older adults to be mentors for students, particularly students at risk of not completing their degree. According to Judy Raper, Associate Dean of Community Engagement, there is no shortage of older adults who are eager to play this vital role. It’s a win-win for everyone, as the students find the OASIS volunteers to be a helpful and reassuring source of support, particularly during these uncertain times.
Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernandez, president of GCC, is proud that they have a multigenerational campus. “Many of our students do not have a long legacy of college attendance. Many are the first in their families to attend college,” Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernandez said. “We have this older community of retired professionals who can share their insights from decades of working in their professions and support students with things like cover letters and interviews. To our elders, this program means that we treasure you in our community. You have so much to give. For students, it helps them to develop a relationship that becomes a transformational bond."
For more information on OASIS, please contact Judy Raper at RaperJ@gcc.mass.edu.