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Claremont Tutor's Story : Then & Now

By: Christine Ascher (Student/Writer/Tutor)

When Claremont Tutors was first formed in 2005, it was a small operation created by two college students who wanted to make some extra cash while in school.

Where We've Been

Initially, they attracted a handful of clients who met primarily on or near the Claremont Colleges campus. As Claremont Tutors developed a reputation within the community, we began meeting with students in their homes as well. Partnerships with organizations like the City of Claremont, Claremont Little League, Claremont Currier, and the Claremont Chamber of Commerce, as well as local schools, have played an important role in our ability to reach clients. Over the years, our program has become more like a social club, with tutors taking great pride in their responsibilities as team contributors. For instance, as they graduate from college and move on to accomplish other life goals, they protect their legacy by recruiting replacement tutors who they can pass their clients on to.

In addition to providing college students with the opportunity to tutor, Claremont Tutors has also provided around 400 students with internship opportunities over the past 15 years. Most of these opportunities were paid tutoring internships which gave aspiring teachers the ability to test the waters of being an educator while earning school credit and supplemental income. Interns have served as SAT and College Entry Workshop instructors, middle and high school after-school homework help, and tutor support counselors, among other roles. Initiating these programs allowed our interns and volunteers to gain experience in a variety of areas. We have had volunteers help us with all aspects of marketing, for instance, including web design, creative ad writing, photography, grant writing, and development. Our volunteers have also played a part in on-campus recruitment, acting as job fair brand ambassadors. Interns like Daziah Turner have been instrumental in campus recruiting. Around every corner is an opportunity to develop leadership skills. Our interns and volunteers have used these opportunities to develop skills that will aid them in the professional world, such as time management, communication, and the capability to work in diverse environments using a variety of teaching styles. These programs have not only made our organization stronger; they have helped our interns and volunteers hone their own abilities as well.

Our Biggest Accomplishments

Our biggest accomplishment to date has been transforming from a for-profit company to a non-profit organization. Although we have been around for a long time, achieving a non-profit status in 2016 has given us a renewed sense of purpose. Our organization now has the feel of a new start-up, where all ideas are welcome and the sky is the limit. Our common ground is the kids. Claremont Tutors is about students helping students achieve their academic goals. As a 501c3 Educational Nonprofit, our organization has the ability to extend our reach to work with other nonprofits. This designation also gives us the ability to raise funds and apply for grants to help us further our mission to provide private tutoring for all students regardless of their ability to pay. Some of our other accomplishments include helping to develop free middle school and high school after school tutoring programs and initiating free college entry workshops to assist graduating high school students with their personal statements. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we have also begun offering virtual tutoring and online classes to provide productive screen-time activities for students who are required to stay home. We’re instituting a variety of courses taught by our tutors for students in place of in-person summer camps, from language classes to arts-and-crafts. Younger students can learn how to play an instrument, take part in a Disney Singalong, learn French, or take a yoga class, among other activities, while older students can learn about subjects including financial literacy and neuroscience.

It's All About Our Tutors

Our tutors are a major source of pride for us. They are mainly full-time students who choose to spend their free time helping others. Their passion for education is the cornerstone to our foundation. We love hearing success stories from parents, and receive countless messages about how their students’ attitude towards education has changed drastically since working with our tutors, and how they have improved multiple letter grades. One parent explained that "our tutor's like family; we will be happy for her when she graduates but at the same time we will be so sad that she is moving on." Tutors are able to forge a close connection with their clients; when coronavirus began spreading and schools were closing, one tutor was even offered a place to stay rent-free with their client until the pandemic was over. Can you imagine that? This is more than just a job. Young lives are being shaped and molded by our kind-hearted tutors, who serve as role models and mentors as well.

When COVID Hit

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit back in March, the majority of our tutoring staff was displaced and returned to their prospective homes all across the country. They were able to adapt quickly to new online learning platforms like Zoom and now we have tutors all over the country. Because of our tutors’ commitment to their students’ success, most of them were able to continue working with their clients online and sessions have been going really well. Although we are primarily based on the West Coast, with our new online platform we have the ability to schedule lessons based on student needs and tutor skills anywhere in the country by matching their availability across multiple time-zones. This school year we served over 50 families, and we expect that number to double or triple by the end of the year. We have recently received 100 tutor applications from top universities and highly accredited colleges.

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