While remote learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has posed some challenges for children and their parents, a College Point resident and his friends are doing what they can to help students across the city achieve academic success.
Jingzhe Weng, 17, a senior at The Bronx High School of Science, organized a nonprofit program called L.E.A.F. with his friends, Steven Tung and Justin Cao. The program provides free tutoring in academic subject areas and volunteer hours for students in New York City.
The L.E.A.F. program stands for Love for learning, Educating others, Assisting the community and Finding your passion. Their goal is to connect tutors to students not only in New York City, but also across the United States.
“Our program is completely student-run,” Weng said. “We select tutors from high school and college to tutor students from grades K-12, and we currently offer sessions in English and Chinese.”
The program currently has 20-plus students and tutors, according to Weng, and provides customized scheduling based on the students’ own accords.
Daily sessions are held in the morning from 8 to 10 a.m., in the afternoon from noon to 2 p.m. and in the evening from 4 to 6 p.m. Each session is about 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the tutor and student.
Tutors can connect with their students through video calling apps such as Zoom, Skype, Discord and Messenger, since the program is operating remotely to comply with social distancing guidelines.
Weng, who immigrated with his family from China at the age of 6, said he experienced great difficulty learning since they didn’t speak English.
“It was really difficult to do school work and communicate with my teachers due to the language barrier,” Weng said. “My mom and I would sit together and decipher my homework with a dictionary. I was also able to meet friends who could translate and help me adapt to this new environment.”
Weng said he wants their tutors and students to have a friendship, helping to create a positive teacher-student relationship.
“We realized the limitations of online schooling and there are many students out there who struggle with it,” Weng said. “We just want to help students better themselves and their education providing them with a head start for the following school year.”
The L.E.A.F. Program team can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their website, here.