Melissa Sheremeta, Oasis Volunteer
Hi! My name is Melissa Sheremeta. Before joining Oasis in 2009 I worked for the Onondaga County Department of Social Services. I met my husband Mark there. We hope to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this spring with a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. I want to see the “little” hippo Fiona before she gets any bigger! Mark and I also enjoy visiting the breweries of CNY. Two of our favorites are Critz Farms and Willow Rock. I walk quite a lot and like hiking, golf, paddling and biking. I previously volunteered at Literacy Volunteers as I wanted to help others learn to read. I couldn’t imagine a life without reading and books! My reading is mostly for pleasure, mostly fiction. Two books high on my list are “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles and “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman. Spring is here and one of our family traditions is to bake Paska (traditional Ukrainian Easter bread). My in-laws and I will send pictures of the finished breads back and forth as we live far apart.
For me Oasis has been a haven. A pleasant refuge with the special energy of people who are curious and interesting and kind. Oasis offers us opportunities for lifelong learning. Volunteering offers opportunities to share our time to do something for others and for our community. I became a Desk Volunteer in March 2013. As such, I get to interact with and welcome class participants, as well as perform office tasks with other volunteers and staff. It’s a good experience; the schedule is flexible and volunteer time is always respected and our contribution valued. I’ve made friends as an Oasis volunteer and that is very important to me. One of my favorite things as a Desk Volunteer is helping someone solve an issue that’s been giving them trouble; directions to Oasis when they feel lost en route, straightening out a class registration, being a voice on the other end of the phone line. People are usually surprised and pleased that a person answers the phone.
I am also part of the Oasis Leadership Team (effective March 2014) which calls for a larger commitment and responsibility to maintain or improve services and procedures while working with the Program and Volunteer Manager. For example: early in the pandemic we made efforts to reach out to our membership when we could no longer meet in person.
I’m currently serving a term on the Oasis Advisory Council. My role is limited to making a report from the Leadership Team, but allows me the chance to see some of the inner workings that keep Oasis vibrant and moving forward. I see the skilled and generous panel – many of whom are also volunteers – meet the challenges the pandemic poses for Oasis.
How lucky we are in CNY to have Oasis! A place for seniors to engage in classes for language, arts, history, politics, local issues, computer literacy, fitness and so much more. And it’s fun to boot!