When COVID-19 first shut down schools toward the end of last school year, best friends Chantelle Faria and Molly McCaffrey noticed they were having a harder time focusing on schoolwork as learning rapidly became virtual. As schools reopen this fall and learning continues both in-person and virtually, the two decided they wanted to help make a difference.
Faria and McCaffrey launched Youth Enlightened, an organization for K-8 students around the world to turn to get free virtual tutoring and support. They and four other high school students will begin offering tutoring and essay editing this week.
“We thought virtual tutoring would be a way to reach out to students struggling this year and provide extra resources,” said McCaffrey, a Mayfair resident.
Both juniors, McCaffrey goes to Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush and Faria goes to Archbishop Ryan. The pair have been best friends since they went to elementary school together at St. Matthew School, where they both served as peer tutors for fellow classmates.
Shortly before the school year began, the two were talking about how they could help out students struggling as schools and the rest of the world adapted to working and learning virtually.
“We wanted to do something we love and at the same time impact the community,” said Faria, a Wissinoming resident.
The idea came naturally and they acted quickly. Faria created the website and they recruited more tutors from their schools and Pennsbury High School.
Tutoring hasn’t begun yet this early in the school year, but the organization already has interested students from Philadelphia and New Jersey, and even as far as Canada and Pakistan, where Faria has family.
“We have a supportive community around us and a lot of people are sharing it and spreading the word,” McCaffrey said.
During a typical school year, McCaffrey is involved in theater and musical theater and the news club. Faria is on the swim team and in chorus and band.
Meetings are conducted over Zoom and students using the service will be able to select the times and frequency they meet.
The service is in its opening stages. As the school year goes along, the girls hope to bring in a bigger team of tutors, hosting group sessions with guest speakers and a homework hour for students to tune in at any time to get help on questions.
Faria and McCaffrey are getting adjusted to the untraditional school year as they are preparing to meet their first students.
“We’re still getting adjusted but it’s a significant improvement from how quickly we had to turn to remote learning last year,” McCaffrey said.
Interested students can sign up for tutoring on their site, linked below. Tutoring is for students K-8, though students in any grade can receive help on editing essays. ••
To learn more about the service and sign up, go to youthenlightened20.wixsite.com/youthenlightened2020.