Students create Cupertino branch of online tutoring nonprofit TutorChatLive.org

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Students create Cupertino branch of online tutoring nonprofit TutorChatLive.org

Daniel Lin

Juniors Annie and Amritha Anand have always fostered an interest in teaching others and volunteering. After finding a website which allows them to pursue both of their passions, they have have taken upon themselves to help students from low-income families, through an online platform called TutorChatLive.org.


tutorchatlive

The home page of TutorChatLive.org descibes the organization as a nonprofit which provides students with free and live online tutoring. The site is used to aid students from low-income backgrounds.


In essence, TutorChatLive.org is a website which provides free tutoring to sixth through 12th graders who may not be able to afford tutoring classes. Using this website enables students to directly ask for help from tutors: dozens of volunteers who assist students in a variety of subjects from math to social studies. And it’s all done through a Facebook-style chat box.

Junior Annie Anand

Junior Annie Anand

After submitting an application, people who are interested in tutoring are asked questions pertaining to certain subjects to ensure that the site’s teachers have a thorough understanding.

Originally, Annie and Amritha decided to tutor for the nonprofit organization hoping to gain volunteer hours from home. But through the experiences of teaching others, knowing students would walk away with a better understanding of a subject, Annie and Amritha have taken away something more significant from volunteering for the organization.

“I found it super fun because I was able to help people,” Annie said, “and people left better understanding things.”

While most other tutoring jobs require a college degree to get hired, any high school student who has a basic knowledge of school subjects qualifies to be a tutor at TutorChatLive.org. Annie believes it’s much easier for tutees to learn because of the lack of an age barrier between student and teacher.

“When I get tutored by people around my age,” Annie said, “I feel like I learn better than from people older than me.”

According to Amritha, the main difference between TutorChatLive.org and conventional tutoring centers is that because everything is done online, a tutor can teach someone across the country and build more connections using online networking.

“If it’s not online you can only work with people who are just 20 minutes away,” Amritha said. “So someone living far is probably benefiting from the help they may not otherwise have.”

Volunteering for two to three hours on a typical week, Annie and Amritha have become accustomed to volunteering for TutorChatLive.org. That being said, the two now have plans to reach out to other students in need of better education.

Junior Amritha Anand

Junior Amritha Anand

Annie and Amritha originally wanted to start a club at MVHS. However, due to the large number of service clubs already on campus, it was difficult for their club to be approved. Nevertheless, the two still wanted to get the word out to some students on campus by localizing their new chapter to the City of Cupertino and recruit local residents.

One of these people is freshman Eesha Moona, who heard about the program from Facebook. The prospect of teaching others through the online platform appealed to her because she could not find the time to drive back and forth tutoring students at Monta Vista, whereas the online platform would allow her to help other students from the comfort of her home.

Annie and Amritha are now considering holding a fundraiser and sending its proceeds to the organization, since many of the site’s users do not have the money or supplies to succeed in school. Another way the organization could use money is to fund its engineers to help improve the platform.

Future plans aside, the two girls reflect on how they got into online tutoring in the first place. Amritha thinks a part of the reason she joined TutorChatLive.org was to educate people who come from a low-income background. Similarly, Annie has found one of the most rewarding aspects of tutoring to be teaching students her age who come from a low-income family.

“I feel like at first I just wanted to do it for the hours,” Annie said, “but now, after actually going through it and helping these kids … it’s actually been super rewarding because you actually see them learning. You’re constantly having a relationship with them and it’s pretty nice.”

Learn more about the nonprofit at www.tutorchatlive.org.