Student-started tutoring service gives back in more ways than one
In an effort to help those in the school and broader community, Wilton High School junior Andrew Noonan founded The Learning Fund — a tutoring service for students by students that donates money to local charities.
The Learning Fund launched in the beginning of the school year, “but really picked up in December,” said Andrew, who got the idea after tutoring his friend’s little brother over the summer and finding it “relatively fun and easy.”
Instead of starting a run-of-the-mill tutoring service, Andrew wanted to do something different.
“I wanted to do some form of community service,” he said, “so we tried to merge the tutoring and charitable aspects into one service.”
That’s where the idea of donating to charity came in.
Not only does The Learning Fund match tutors with students, but 90% of the proceeds goes to local charities. The other 10% covers the cost of learning materials, gas and running the The Learning Fund website, studentlearningfund.com.
“The program is kind of a way for us to give back to the community through helping younger kids, and supporting local causes,” said Andrew.
For a $30-per-hour suggested donation, The Learning Fund offers hour-long tutoring sessions at Wilton Library.
Tutoring subjects include kindergarten through eighth-grade math and general sciences, as well as chemistry, Spanish, French, reading and writing, and English.
Along with each tutoring subject, Andrew said, the tutors also try to teach some of the study skills, test-taking strategies and general tips they have picked up as students.
People can sign up for as many sessions as they want “with no minimum or mandatory length,” said Andrew.
“We’ve had a couple people just set up a couple singular sessions before a big test,” he said, “and we have people that want tutoring almost every day just to consistently improve.”
There are some requirements to become a Learning Fund tutor, of which there are currently 14 — all of whom are Wilton High School juniors:
- Cameron Berg.
- Jake Beshlian.
- Kevin Connolly.
- Adriana Curtis.
- Ryan Ettie.
- Lydia Hoffman.
- Sophia Kaplan.
- Cara Kilmartin.
- Morgan Noonan.
- Eve Ogdon.
- Cova Perez.
- Chris Sweeney.
- Addie Tanzman.
- John Zizzadoro.
Of course, Andrew said, grades are important for tutors to have.
“Ideally, we’re looking for around two to three AP classes as a junior, and to be on the high honor roll — or at least doing well in the classes you want to tutor in,” he said.
“If students in other grades want to tutor, there are obviously similar standards more aligned with the specific grade level.”
Personality is ”just, if not more important than the grades,” said Andrew, because tutors have to “work well with younger kids, be patient, think of alternate ways of teaching, and be able to get along well with other people in general.”
“It may seem like a lot to expect, but we want to keep the students happy and learning,” he said.
“We don't want to add people just for the sake of adding people, even if it means being less flexible with the scheduling or having less tutors.”
Within the first couple months, Andrew said, around seven or eight students signed up for The Learning Fund services.
“Pretty much everyone has set up recurring sessions,” he said, “so that’s definitely improved our confidence and is reassuring.”
Andrew said he hopes to get “a bunch more people signed up down the road,” and plans to reach out to teachers to see if there are any kids that could benefit from tutoring.
“Until then, I'm pretty happy with how everything turned out and the rate at which we’re growing,” he said.