Shout to Indianapolis Coordinator, Mary McDonald
Mary McDonald maintaining quarantine in Andorra.
The Pike Township Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring Program has been privileged to have the strong leadership of Mary McDonald. Her relationships with her tutors, teachers and administrators form one of most outstanding Oasis tutoring programs nationally. One of the reasons that I can make this claim is the outpouring of support from all the school staff members and administrators who attend the May celebration coffee to give lengthy tributes with gratitude to the Oasis tutors and to Mary! I concur with their praise. They are amazing.
Therefore, when I asked Mary to share some information with us, she eagerly accepted. Please read her first-person response to my request.
Fifteen years ago, as I was retiring from teaching first and later third grade, I was asked to coordinate Oasis tutoring for Pike. Though I’d had several caring Oasis tutors for students in my class, I had no idea how much I would value this experience myself! Working with such dedicated, interesting folks, as they encourage our young students and develop relationships with them, is also so much fun! I’m so pleased at how we have built our program in Pike, now having over 75 tutors.
When asked to share a little about myself, the current time frame has turned out to be quite an extraordinary experience for my husband and me. His daughter and family, including four children, live in Andorra, a small, mountainous country located between France and Spain, with a Catalan culture. As we do every year, we undertook a two week visit with them in February. Well, we are still here! Our flight home was cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis, and we responded to the family’s request/insistence for us to stay, since they have always wanted us for a longer visit, plus there were fears of travel at that time. Ten weeks later, we have enjoyed our grandchildren, shared great cooking, and developed great memories of so many activities and books both with family and living in a European culture, even with restrictions. I have shared reading many books with our first grader. With our third -grade grandson, I have read the Boxcar Children and now Marvin Redpost, and my husband is taking turns reading Goosebumps with him. The 9-year-old boy hadn’t previously enjoyed reading, but now frequently asks to read with us, or simply reads alone!
“It often is about reading with a partner and finding that right book!”
Nature’s beauty here is everywhere, and governmental controls during the pandemic have kept Covid-19 case numbers down. We think we will be able to return home in about two weeks and are eager to return, but this generally has been a great overall experience. I’m including a photo looking out our window and one where we walk their dog. I hope you have found some satisfactions and kept your health in this most challenging of times. I look forward to seeing you all in the fall!