Students struggle weekly with homework, and especially during a time of virtual school, they might need extra guidance to fully understand the material assigned by their teachers. Paper Bridges’ new initiative establishes a way for all students to progress in their self-directed learning and provides a way for students to gain interaction with others during the global pandemic.
In an interview with Rebecca Huang, a Co-Founder at Paper Bridges, Huang passionately stated that “a tutoring program is very prudent and pressing at this time because after talking to many foster families and foster care directors, we saw a need for students who were falling behind to receive this kind of free tutoring.” The tutoring service is completely free and virtually accessible for all foster youth and students around the globe.
The tutoring initiative is aimed to support a broad category of students, including GED tutoring for post-graduates and elementary through high school homework assistance. “We didn’t want to restrict the tutoring that we offer, especially because our tutors have a really diverse range of skills, so we really want the tutoring to help as many students as possible,” Huang said.
Moreover, it is a priority for all tutors to develop a relationship with their tutees. One of the main goals of this initiative is to build long lasting relationships and connections, because if successful, relationships between the tutor and tutee can result in the exchange of trustworthy advice about academic and career choices, such as how to do well in college and manage time wisely. In order for such goals to succeed, a level of commitment by both the tutor and tutee has to be met, which signifies how “every single connection we make is important.” Paper Bridges puts immense effort and thought into the pairing process so that each tutee and tutor can have a strong dynamic. The organization has constructed an application for tutors to demonstrate that they take the initiative seriously and have the right heart to help. Tutors are expected to commit to the program for at least one semester, and if meaningful relationships are formed within the semester, tutors are encouraged to continue the program past one full year.
During quarantine, many students continue to struggle with mental health due to self-isolation. In a cross-sectional pilot study, scientists found that among all 505 university students they collected data from, 28.5% had stress, 33.3% anxiety, 46.92% mild to severe depression, and 69.31% had mild to severe distress from specific events. For the study, data was gathered by using online questionnaires such as DASS 21 and IES to examine the changes in mental health among university students during the quarantine. Conclusions drawn from the study shows that less social interaction during the quarantine caused by Covid-19 can take a toll on the mental health of students. Our new tutoring initiative at Paper Bridges hopes to fill in the loss of social interaction by having our youth form genuine connections with their peers who come from completely different backgrounds.
Since Covid-19 has and continues to be a pressing global issue, our tutoring service also seeks to be another means to familiarize students with remote learning and online teaching, especially since many students were not prepared for the transition from in-person to virtual school learning. Although the program is currently only established domestically in the United States, Paper Bridges is exploring options to branch out internationally to help as many of those who have been affected by the pandemic.
To support the new Paper Bridges tutoring program, share the program with friends, family, and peers. Consider donating money to the Paper Bridges mask fundraiser, which provides masks for students re-entering schools, or signing up to partake, either as a tutor or tutee, in the program. If donating money or resources is not a viable option, volunteering to tutor would help the cause tremendously and be greatly appreciated. With the kindness of the individuals willing to help, Paper Bridges will be more capable to provide free tutoring to foster youth all around the world.