Venice launches a new program called OASIS

Simran Ali, Editor-in-chief

On April 25, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to bring the city’s social, health, and economic programs and services into LAUSD schools through a new partnership called Optimizing Access to Services, Inspiring Success (OASIS). OASIS partnered up with Venice High School, Fremont High School, Audubon Middle School, and Utah Street School. OASIS will work with these schools to bring more afterschool programs and services that support the health and well being of struggling working families and their children.

OASIS will bring services like healthcare, counseling (depression, bullying, and peer pressure), academic support such as tutoring, arts and cultural programs, and job training and budget planning for parents onto school campuses, according to the SEIU Local 99 website.

The main goal of OASIS is to provide for the needs of children and their parents so they can have a greater chance to succeed in life. The SEIU Local 99, the school employees union, believes that by bringing resources into the local schools, they can address issues that affect students’ achievement and expose them to new opportunities despite poverty, hunger, or illness.

“In my position, I have a front row seat to the needs of students and their parents,” said Lydia Ponce, a SEIU Local 99 Member working as a Community Representative at Venice High School. “I see hunger, depression, fading hope, longing. I work to connect the families and kids with the services they need … OASIS is multiplying what I’ve been doing so that more children and families can be served. It’s just what our communities need.”

“We have a great budget to support the OASIS program and our community both on and off campus, said Ms. Ponce. “It’s just not for Venice High students, it’s for their siblings, cousins, neighbors and basically all the schools on the west side.” For example, during the summer, OASIS organized an eye checkup day where it gave out free eyeglasses to students who qualified for it.

At the time the City Council was discussing the issue, Venice High principal Elsa Mendoza addressed the City Council regarding need to integrate city programs into LAUSD schools.

“I think it’s been a great start and we are able to provide more services to the children and their families that are in need,” said Dr. Mendoza.

OASIS also supports students’ education and encourages parental engagement and participation, which is essential for students to succeed in college and career.