My name is Karla Toal and I wear lots of hats at Oasis.

I was a long time May Department Store/Famous Barr executive, so back in my working days I knew that there were Oasis meeting rooms in many of the stores but had no idea what they were used for.

After I retired in 2011, I was looking for things to keep me busy and happened upon the Oasis tutoring program. It attracted me because I really enjoy reading and kids and I believe a good education is a key to success. In addition, I don’t have any of my own grandkids to read to just yet.

Not too long after I started as a tutor, I got an email about other volunteer opportunities. Since I am pretty good with technology and enjoy working with people, I interviewed to become a volunteer in the St. Louis office at the Center of Clayton. There I answer phones, take registrations, make reminder calls, help with the catalog and do whatever else needs to be done that day. I am also a class coordinator and I am on the travel/tour committee. Recently, I organized one of our most popular tours – the Chase Park Plaza.

Like all of you, I am hunkered down at home right now. My husband and I live in a condo in the Central West End, so we take a daily walk there or in Forest Park. I am practicing my watercolor painting, working on a counted cross stitch project, catching up on some computer tasks, putting together jigsaw puzzles, reading and have started taking advantage of some on-line exercise videos.

I miss being out and about and keep looking for new ways to connect. I have reached out to people I haven’t talked to in a while – old work friends, a long-distance cousin and a college roommate. Everybody was thrilled to hear from me. My daughter had a virtual happy hour last week with friends from all over the country. I may try that too.

Hang in there and stay healthy.

Karla Toal