San Diego Oasis provides more than 3,000 in-person classes annually for seniors throughout San Diego County. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit temporarily closed their brick and mortar locations to abide by the “shelter-in-place” order. Health officials recommend seniors isolate until a vaccine was available, which some experts estimate being a year away or more. The likelihood their physical locations will open again anytime soon is slight. Therefore, San Diego Oasis quickly moved its courses online to continue to provide engagement and combat isolation — in a new way.
While other nonprofits focused on emergency services, nutrition, and medical needs for seniors, Oasis provided learning and connection, contributing to the overall mental well-being of older adults in San Diego and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their progressive approach positioned them in front of funders, donors, and elected officials as a progressive model for virtual seniors centers for older adults who are not asked to stay-at-home. Due to Scatena Daniels' efforts ahead of the pandemic to create a successful PR program, Oasis is considered a reliable resource for the media and an advocate for social isolation among seniors.
San Diego Oasis received over 30 media placements in the first six weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, totaling more than three million in circulation. They are quickly on their way to becoming a national example of "the new senior center" that stays in place long after the COVID-19 restrictions are limited.