Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

You're Never Too Old to Learn Something New OASIS Offers Education, Enjoyment for People

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

You're Never Too Old to Learn Something New OASIS Offers Education, Enjoyment for People

Article excerpt

"Roll your wrists and ankles, feel the stretch and don't forget to breathe."

These instructions could be heard in any exercise class, but this isn't just any class. Yes, the men and women are dressed in workout wear, participating in a series of moving and breathing exercises aimed at reducing stress and helping with flexibility.

But this group of exercise-lovers is special, they're all over 55 and members of the Oklahoma City chapter of OASIS, a national education organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for older adults.

Through a variety of classes, trips, and volunteer activities, OASIS creates opportunities for people over 55 to continue their personal growth and meaningful community service by offering challenging programs in the arts, humanities, wellness and volunteer service.

Organized similar to a college schedule, every four months the Oklahoma City OASIS chapter produces a booklet that outlines the times and dates for the series of classes. The gamut of classes is vast, from poetry, to Feng Shui, to managing diabetes, to remodeling your kitchen. Over 60 classes and trips are offered during each three-month class period. The programs offered by the Oklahoma City OASIS chapter are held five days per week at Foley's in Crossroads Mall.

"An organization like OASIS is important for many reasons," said Marcia Brown, director of the Oklahoma City chapter of OASIS. "For some, it helps them get out of their house and do something, for others it gives them something to look forward to, and for many, an opportunity to learn something new or explore something they've never done."

OASIS was established in St. Louis in 1982. Initial support for OASIS came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging. Today, OASIS receives major support from May Department Stores. In Oklahoma City, OASIS is sponsored by Foley's, part of May Department Stores, at Crossroads Mall. Additional sponsors are St. Anthony, Hillcrest and Bone & Joint Hospitals.

Nationally, more than 360,000 people 55 and older belong to OASIS. The Oklahoma City OASIS chapter boasts 1,650 members from all walks of life.

"The exciting thing about this group is that everyone has different experiences and is from a different background, but we come together to share ideas, meet new people and have lots of fun," said OASIS member Mattie "Lou" Fetters, a retired Tinker Air Force Base employee.

Lou joined OASIS when it began in 1995. "My husband had just passed away and I needed to get out of the house and do something. One day a card about OASIS came in the mail and I decided I should look into it. That was five years ago and I've been having fun ever since."

When asked what types of classes she has taken at OASIS, Lou said it would be easier to indicate the ones she hasn't taken. …

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