TAMPA – About 70,000 underserved students in east and south Hillsborough County will soon get a boost, when Outreach Assisting Students in Schools (OASIS) opens a location in Seffner. The new location will assist students in Brandon, Riverview, Fish Hawk, Plant City, Dover, Valrico, Ruskin, Wimauma and other towns in the area.
This site will be the fourth for this 13-year-old, volunteer-driven organization, which provides Hillsborough County Public School (HCPS) children with free clothing, shoes and necessities through a unique partnership with public school social workers and with the goal of keeping children in school. Existing OASIS sites are in east Tampa, south Tampa and Tampa Palms.
“For students to learn, they need basic things like decent clothing and shampoo. OASIS allows our social workers to help meet these needs and help these children perform better in school,” says Ken Gaughan, HCPS social workers supervisor.
HCPS requested OASIS open a site in eastern Hillsborough County because of the extreme needs of the area. The population continues to grow and about a third of the HCPS social workers work in east/south Hillsborough County. About 60 percent of HCPS students are on the free lunch program, designating them as at or below the poverty level.
At this stage, HCPS has provided a location and now the challenge for OASIS is to find volunteers to make it a success. Volunteers are needed to pick up clothing from designated locations and sort into categories. OASIS is looking for a business to host a semi-permanent clothing receptacle and for volunteers to hold clothing drives.
Run primarily by volunteers, OASIS was founded by two mothers concerned about the disparity among schools. “Some schools seem to have a wealth of volunteers and financial resources, while others are severely lacking. We founded OASIS to help combat this challenge and allow underserved students more resources,” says co-founder Lynn Gruber.
More information about OASIS is available by calling Ginger Bean at (813) 975-8179 and at WWW.OASIS-NETWORK.ORG.