GREENWOOD, Indiana — At 95 years young, Tom Foster still goes to school once a week.
"I enjoy the kids,” Foster said, a short man who still drives his car to Westwood Elementary in Greenwood and walks without assistance through the school hallways. “I feel in my mind I'm just a big kid anyway. Not very big but a big kid."
Foster volunteers as a reading tutor through Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring. The program connects seniors and people in retirement with kindergarten through third-grade students for one-on-one tutoring.
This year Foster tutors second-grader Ramon Harris.
"He helps me read better and learn sounds and words,” Harris said.
"You don't often times meet too many people who are 90 years old, but then let alone meet too many guys that are 90 that are willing to come in and volunteer and serve and just connect with kids,” said Dave Ennis, Westwood Elementary School principal. “His disposition is great with kids. It's great with teachers."
"It's been a delight, really,” Foster said. “It gets me up and gets me out at least one day a week. But the kids are just amazing."
Foster has tutored at Westwood for 16 years. So some of the students he started with have already graduated high school.
"I found it a very rewarding experience,” he said. "And the people here at this school just adopted me I think."
He still fits in the Army uniform that first brought him to town at the end of World War II stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison. He and wife, Iva, were married almost 61 years. Foster has been widowed for more than a decade. He has a son and two granddaughters.
Tutoring keeps his mind sharp and allows him to serve his community.
“I like people,” he said. “I like kids. They’re the future of our country.”
More than 600 Indianapolis Oasis tutors are working with elementary school students in central Indiana.