About St. Louis Oasis

The Oasis Mission


It was an Easter day in the seventies.  At a local senior center, older adults were instructed to glue bunnies on placemats.  Dismayed that rudimentary crafts and bingo were the order of the day, Marylen Mann became inspired to make a difference. In 1982, she founded Oasis in St. Louis.

I thought, “This is not the way to grow old.”  I knew I could enhance the lives of people who were aging.  And I did… through lifelong learning, healthy living, and social engagement,” says Mann.

Mann began building community collaboration to support Oasis. With the assistance of the U. S. Administration on Aging and The May Department Stores Company, Oasis received funding support to demonstrate the feasibility of a public-private partnership. At the conclusion of the demonstration, The May Department Stores Company, now Macy’s, Inc., committed to expand its support and establish Oasis centers within its stores.

Due to the success of the Oasis model, the U.S. Commissioner on Aging contacted Mann and asked her to go to the U.N. Conference on Economics and Aging in León, Spain.  There were many countries represented – every European country.  The American flag was behind her as she stood up and spoke to people from all over the world.  Mann shared stories of the St. Louis Oasis program. She stated that it was the best the United States had to offer.  Being there, representing the United States, and telling a good part of the world about Oasis was an incredible experience.  Mann developed a program that was now being shown as an example of the very best practices in the world.

Oasis Today

Oasis continues to proudly offer programs proven to enrich the lives of older adult using the arts, history, technology, current events, health, exercise, volunteer engagement, and more. For over 37 years, Oasis classes and activities have played a vital role in improving the lives of older adults.

Programs in the St. Louis metropolitan area are available in more than 50 partnership sites in over 20 cities, reaching thousands of individuals each year by promoting successful aging through lifelong learning, health programs and volunteer engagement.

Through EDUCATION, ADVOCACY, and relevant PROGRAMS, the Oasis impact reaches communities in St. Louis and beyond.

St Louis Oasis Overview

St Louis Oasis Overview pg1

6,700 participants


5,000 classes


 2,100 volunteers

volunteer hours

156,000 volunteer hours