OASIS plans to close Akron center
By Kathleen Folkerth
AKRON — OASIS, an educational and volunteer service program for older adults, is closing its Akron location at the end of the summer.
Pat Gilbert, network director for OASIS, based in St. Louis, confirmed that the decision has been made. She said the reason for the closing is “strictly financial.”
“Akron is one of our smaller centers,” Gilbert said. “Over the years, the Akron directors would say the community is economically depressed. The industry that might have been here before is gone. It has been difficult.
“We’re happy to serve small communities,” Gilbert added. “We wouldn’t have come to Akron if we didn’t think it was an important program.”
The Akron center, located in Macy’s at Chapel Hill Mall, is one of 25 OASIS centers in the country, Gilbert said. OASIS is a national nonprofit educational organization designed to enhance the quality of life for mature adults. Centers offer programs in the arts, humanities, wellness, technology and volunteer service.
OASIS had been sponsored by Summa
Health System and Sumner of Ridgewood in the past few
years, but those relationships
were not renewed, according to Gilbert. The lack of
a major sponsor to fund the program, which Gilbert said
runs on a budget of about $80,000, contributed to the
“When OASIS started 25
years ago, health care was quite a bit different,”
she said. “Most hospitals did not have an education
program for seniors. What we had was quite different.”
Now more health care organizations
have educational programs for older adults. At the same
time, budget cuts in medical centers have become more
common, lessening the amount of money out there to fund
programs like OASIS.
“We have seen this in
other communities,” Gilbert
said. “Sometimes we’re able to replace that
She said it’s unlikely
the decision to close would be reversed if a sponsor
came aboard today.
“We’ve done a good
job over the years looking for additional partners,
and they haven’t been forthcoming,” Gilbert
said. “There’s not a lot of foundations
we can go to in Akron for additional support. At this
point, we’re not anticipating that anybody would
Gilbert said letters are being
to sent to OASIS members to inform them about the closing,
which will happen in late August, when the summer session
of activities ends. She added that Akron OASIS members
will be sent information on the Cleveland OASIS center,
located at Macy’s in Parmatown Mall.