To address student learning gaps happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to sharpen minds during summer vacation, several local teens have created a non-profit learning and tutoring organization called Youth Hand in Hand, which offers free online classes and tutorials on a wide range of topics.
The organization, which is comprised of talented student teachers, hosts weekly 40-minute ZOOM class sessions, teaching topics that include Coding (Scratch and Python), SAT tutoring, Chemistry, Biology, Math, National History Day, Creative Writing and Cartooning.
“A lot of these classes are things we are passionate about,” said Ares Zhang, a Camas High School senior, and one of the group’s student teachers. “We know a lot of people who have missed out on opportunities over the summer. This all started out as friends trying to help each other, but it’s turned into something bigger. There’s no cost! All of it’s free. All you have to do is sign up.”
As a non-profit, Youth Hand in Hand is able to procure funding to purchase full ZOOM subscriptions for all teachers, and they are accepting old routers to help students to have better WiFi access.
“Technically, we started in April during the pandemic, and my sister wanted to learn scratch coding, and several neighbors were interested,” said Spencer Chang, a junior at Mountain View High School, and the organization’s founder. “I asked if anyone would also want to do it, and other four kids helped us.”
After initial setup, Youth Hand in Hand now has 18 student teachers and offers 15 classes. Most classes have two teachers and typically 15 kids are in each session.
“Last month, we had 250 people sign up,” said Chang. “It’s a month-to-month program. Most classes are 4 weeks long. We provide resources to help kids get through online learning.”
Zhang said they are adapting the curriculum to help kids through the school season, and they will shift toward tutoring.
“We can help them learn concepts since they’re not in regular school,” said Chang. “Our goal for September is to expand curriculum and get ZOOM subscriptions for all our teachers. All teachers are teens. The youngest one will be a freshman this year. We are mostly juniors and seniors.”
Youth Hand in Hand plans to do face-to-face classes and tutoring sessions when life returns to pre-pandemic normal.
“It’s mostly so people can keep on learning throughout the pandemic,” said Chang. “Some people don’t learn as well online, and we’re hoping we can make an impact, to provide people opportunities to learn.”
To learn more about the program, visit https://sites.google.com/view/youthhandinhand/home?authuser=0 or email the team at [email protected]
“We just channeled our passion into this,” said Zhang. “This is great way to make an impact in our community.”