Local triplets, Sonia, Esha, and Nikhil Mathur, are members of the Kirk-Bear Canyon Teen Advisory Board (TAB) and the founders of Peer 2 Peer Tutoring, opens a new window (P2P Tutoring), which they created as sophomores after witnessing one of their friends struggle with schoolwork due to a chronic illness. "He missed months of school," they say, "and when he came back, he would express how stressed and worried he was that he would never be able to get caught back up. We realized we could create a solution for students to help them get caught up."
Peer 2 Peer Tutoring was recently featured on KOLD News 13, opens a new window. To celebrate their success, we checked in with the triplets about their experiences on the Library's Teen Advisory Board and how the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning made P2P Tutoring even more important than before.
How long have you served on the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library Teen Advisory Board?
We started volunteering at the Library in 8th grade. Several months later, we were invited to become members of the Board, which we've now been a part of for almost four years.
Why did you join? What projects have you worked on?
The Kirk-Bear Canyon Library has been a place that the three of us have gone to since we were babies. We have many fond memories of listening to Storytimes and participating in library activities. The Library has made a huge impact in our lives, so volunteering and joining the TAB allowed us to give back to the Library and our community.
We've worked on numerous projects, including encouraging teenagers and younger children to read during the Summer Reading Program and helping to set up and run activity stations at the annual MegaMania. We've worked with other TAB members and library staff to create fun and engaging activities. We've also worked to implement solutions to problems the Library has faced.
What experience have you gained from being a TAB member?
The TAB gives its members a voice, and has helped us become more confident speakers and leaders. The TAB challenges us to think outside the box when designing and executing activities at the Library. We were very excited to interview best-selling authors at the Tucson Festival of Books in partnership with Arizona Public Media. Not only was it an exciting and unique opportunity, but it also gave us the chance to improve our speaking skills and learn how to professionally edit audio and video clips.
Another experience we've gained has been the opportunity to meet and listen to the inspirational stories of those who work towards the betterment of our community. All of these experiences have fed our ambition to help our community and contribute to our Library.
What was the impetus for launching Peer 2 Peer Tutoring?
We first created Peer 2 Peer Tuto ring after witnessing one of our friends struggle with schoolwork due to a chronic illness. He missed months of school, and when he came back, he would express how stressed and worried he was that he would never be able to get caught back up. The stress of missing even a couple of days of school is felt by most students, including ourselves. We realized that we could create a solution for students to help them get caught back up. This is how P2P Tutoring was born.
What has the response to P2P Tutoring been since the COVID-19 pandemic began?
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, students have had to face a new obstacle: switching to online learning as schools closed down. As a result, we have expanded P2P Tutoring so that all students, regardless of if they are sick or not, can get a tutor to receive the help they need during the academic transition. We are happy to say that P2P Tutoring has grown throughout Arizona, across the nation to Virginia, and to the west coast in California.
How many P2P Tutoring School Ambassadors do you have?
We have many throughout Arizona, however we are most excited about our two new ambassadors—one in Virginia, and the other in California.
What kid of tutoring do you provide? How is it offered?
We provide a relaxed tutoring ecosystem in which students help their peers get caught up on any subject they don’t feel confident in. This way of learning allows peers to build friendships while also providing a good learning environment for both the student and the tutor. We offer tutoring sessions both in person or remotely. However, as a result of COVID-19, we have transitioned completely to remote learning to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Throughout the whole process, we, the Peer 2 Peer Tutoring Administration, ensure good communication and satisfaction from everyone involved.
Have you received positive feedback from students or families? What have they had to say?
We've received a lot of positive feedback. We get the most excited when parents thank us. This is because we enjoy seeing how parents, who may not have the ability to tutor their own children, trust us and are confident that we will provide their students with what they need to succeed. The three of us are so proud of and thankful for all of our tutors for the commitment and hard work they put into the program.
Why do you think what you’re doing with this program is important?
We believe this program is important because almost all students, including ourselves, have experienced missing days of school and felt stressed and overwhelmed as a result. Now, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, all students, sick or not, may have difficulties with online school. We want P2P Tutoring to help as many students as possible so that they can succeed. Our program is important because we're trying our best to make that happen!