Leon Oman is an example of an individual that is committed to social, economic, and personal change. In the 15 years that Oman has worked for Community Education, he has changed the lives of countless individuals, both youth and adults. He has demonstrated his commitment to grassroots change by opting to remain on the “front lines” with the people who need him most.
Leon Oman is the Community Education Specialist at Andersen Schools. Although his position is 40 hours per week, he works far beyond his required hours. His average schedule has him at Andersen on weekdays from 9a.m. until 7p.m., and on Saturdays from 8a.m. until noon. In many schools, Community Education is an area in which adults take a Spanish class or brush up on their computer skills. Thanks to Oman’s ongoing commitment, Community Education at Andersen has reached far beyond this scope.
Community Education is an integral part of the Andersen Complex. In order to combat the fact that many Andersen students have working parents who are unable to be home when the school days ends, the After-School Activity Program was created. This program gives students the opportunity to expand their school day in creative and exciting ways. Students are able to choose between activities that focus on arts and crafts, sports, literacy, computers, and other areas of interest.
As the success of the After-School Activity Program has expanded, so has its scope. Oman spearheaded the creation of an after-school homework club entitled “Cool Kids.” In this program, students are placed in small classes where they receive homework help, tutoring, and mentoring. These students are able to extend their day from 2p.m. until 5p.m., often eliminating the problems that occur when kids are unsupervised after school.
Another way in which Oman has made an impact is in his role as supervisor of AmeriCorps members. His work as a supervisor is purely voluntary and is an example of his unending commitment to the program. This year, he supervised more than 11 members. He takes care to see that each person feels supported and encouraged and that every individual is able to utilize their particular interests or talents.
The impact that Oman makes on the lives of those who encounter him cannot be measured in a qualitative sense. It is measured in the stories that are told when someone at an AmeriCorps meeting chimes in with, “Guess what Leon did for me!” It is measured in the number of students in the Andersen Complex who do not think twice about bursting into his office demanding that he let them into an activity that is full or put them on the bus list because they want to join a friend in computer class. His success is measured in the everyday experiences that seem to go unnoticed because, in Leon Oman’s world, they are so common.