Free on­line tu­tor­ing ser­vice to ex­pand

The Chronicle Herald (Provincial) - - NEWS - NOUSHIN ZIAFATI LO­CAL JOUR­NAL­ISM INI­TIA­TIVE RE­PORTER noushin.ziafati@her­ald.ca @nzi­afati

A free tu­tor­ing ser­vice based out of Halifax that launched to pro­vide learn­ing sup­port to stu­dents dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic is ex­pand­ing, with the goal of con­tin­u­ing to help stu­dents even be­yond the pan­demic.

Launched in late April, The Halifax Helpers is a free, vol­un­teer-run on­line tu­tor­ing ser­vice that of­fers ed­u­ca­tional sup­port for ele­men­tary and ju­nior high school stu­dents in Nova Sco­tia. Cur­rently, there are about 50 tu­tors host­ing roughly 300 on­line Zoom tu­tor­ing ses­sions a week in ar­eas such as English, French, math, sci­ence, vis­ual art and mu­sic.

Ini­tially, the goal of the tu­tor­ing ser­vice was to help stu­dents with ath­ome learn­ing while schools in the prov­ince re­main closed, ac­cord­ing to The Halifax Helpers founder Re­bec­cah Raphael.

But now, the vol­un­teer tu­tors be­hind The Halifax Helpers are look­ing to ex­pand their of­fer­ings and con­tinue to help stu­dents post-pan­demic as well, Raphael said, see­ing how the need for ad­di­tional learn­ing sup­port “is not go­ing to go away” once the pan­demic ends.

“Peo­ple will al­ways need ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tional sup­port. There will al­ways be peo­ple who need this,” she said.

“So, we’ve kind of de­cided as a group that we’re go­ing to try and ex­tend the project into next year as a lot of schools will be go­ing on­line but also into the fu­ture to try and make it some­thing big­ger so we can reach more peo­ple and help more in­di­vid­u­als.”

For the ex­pan­sion, the team is hop­ing to launch a new and im­proved web­site, with a sec­tion ded­i­cated specif­i­cally to help new­com­ers learn English. Raphael said they’re cur­rently in dis­cus­sions with a few or­ga­ni­za­tions in Nova Sco­tia who they hope to part­ner with to of­fer the ESL sup­port.

They’ve launched a Go­fundme cam­paign to help with the costs associated with de­vel­op­ing the new web­site, Raphael said, in­clud­ing hir­ing a web de­vel­oper and de­signer.

“Once that web­site is set up, ev­ery­thing will be au­to­mated. Our goal is for peo­ple to be able to make an ac­count for The Halifax Helpers and for peo­ple to be able to log in and have all their ses­sions,” she said.

Raphael said she’s “over­whelmed” with the com­mu­nity sup­port the tu­tors have had since the launch of The Halifax Helpers, adding she hopes they can reach their $2,000 Go­fundme goal to con­tinue to help stu­dents for years to come.

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