Cleveland High students start 'peer mentoring' service
Putting at-home leisure time to work, two enterprising Cleveland High School juniors have created something remarkable: An online tutoring site they call "Spark Tutoring Collective" to help K-12 students in the area.
Sophie Jones, who lives in Eastmoreland, teamed up with Leo Marchyok, a Woodstock resident, to create this online community of students – dedicated to providing free tutoring for anyone struggling in school.
Jones and Marchyok said they hatched the plan in August, and published their website in early September.
"The inspiration for the 'Spark Tutoring Collective' was that, this spring, we found online learning to be exhausting and debilitating," Jones told THE BEE.
"But, however hard it was for us, we understood that those younger and/or less privileged had it much worse," Jones continued. "Many students, teachers, and parents are understandably overwhelmed by this pandemic, and are not able to get and give the help that's necessary for student success.
"We believe that, by giving students one-on-one help with their homework, we can help them to succeed in online schooling this year, and to gain confidence in themselves and their abilities."
The duo started out by brainstorming goals and methods for their website, Jones explained. "Once we had built the foundation for our startup, we scheduled meetings with people who could consult us – including marketing advisors, and other successful business people – lawyers, as well as educators.
"Once we knew what our plan was for 'Spark', we began to advertise through social media and word of mouth – and we also spread the word to educators, who helped us get many of our clients, and all seven our tutors."
The pair hope their work will significantly help students, especially those in the "BIPOC" (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community. "We look forward to our addition to tutoring infrastructure in Oregon to be significant, and outlast us," Marchyok agreed. "Although online learning will end eventually, the need for online tutoring will likely stay a need in our technologically-oriented world. "We want to cultivate [an exchange among] both the most curious and informed learners, and the most experienced and service-oriented tutors."
The two are also getting real-life business experience as they fund-raise to meet their current costs of $107 to pay for the "Spark Tutoring Collective" website. "We're operating solely off of donations, which are all graciously accepted," Jones said.
Go online for the "Donate" button, to securely give via PayPal – and learn more about their unique service, there, too – www.sparktutoringcollective.org
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