Partnership Spotlight: Achillea Peer Tutoring

Partnership with Achillea

Paper Bridges has recently partnered with Achillea, a national peer tutoring organization founded by a current foster youth student that launched in October 2019. The organization works with foster care agencies and tutoring nonprofits to help youth in the child welfare system enjoy learning and equip students with opportunities to forge their own success.

Achillea’s tutoring is open to all students from K-12 grade who are in foster care, have been discharged or are receiving preventative services. To sign up for academic support, students fill out an intake form to be appropriately matched with one of Achillea’s tutors. Afterward, students schedule a five-minute phone call to confirm their interest. More information on how students can get involved in Achillea’s tutoring is on their website.

Tutor Information

Tutors receive community service credit and have flexible hours that work with their schedules. To sign up to tutor, volunteers fill out a sign-up form, where a verification email with a form is sent to their school administrator. After receiving a code, volunteers review training resources. They then take a training assessment, and after scoring at least eighty percent on the assessment, they will wait up to a month to be matched with a student. After each scheduled tutoring session, tutors fill out session notes, which take around five minutes to complete. Tutors also fill out a monthly report about their students’ progress, which takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to complete. More information on how high schoolers can sign up to tutor for Achillea is on their website.

Paper Bridges CEO Rebecca Huang said that Paper Bridges decided to partner with Achillea to provide an opportunity for chapter members to foster one-on-one connections and make a difference in students’ lives. “We loved the mission of [Achillea] and that it was founded by a fellow student,” Huang said. “Because Achillea has a large network of partners with many students, we hope that through this partnership we can make many more tutoring connections and help a larger group of youth.”

Achillea’s central pillars — empathy, trust, perseverance, justice and youth activism — ensure that the tutor and student cultivate meaningful individualized relationships based on mutual trust, with students striving to transform their challenges into learning opportunities, and tutors acknowledging the unique obstacles and abilities of their students.

Sarah Malik, CEO and founder of Achillea, named the organization after the Achillea flower, which was used during the Trojan War to heal Achilles’ wounded soldiers. “Although [the Achillea flower] is confused with a weed, it’s extremely resilient in the face of harsh weather conditions and other obstacles,” Malik said. “Our students are also incredibly resilient, and they’re capable of the extraordinary like the Achillea flower.”

Malik was motivated to start Achillea because of her own experiences in foster care. By knowing the first-hand challenges children face in the foster care system, she helps steer her organization’s practices to be best effective for foster youth. One of Achillea’s initiatives provides tutors trauma-informed training resources to inform tutors of the unique obstacles of the foster care system and how to navigate working with youth. These resources allow tutors to understand an