CHARLOTTE – Sophomore Sherry Liu used to tutor classmates and receive tutoring as part of the peer mentor program at Providence High School. However, once COVID-19 hit and her school closed, she realized that support was no longer available.
Liu said her teachers were too overwhelmed with the transition to online learning to continue monitoring the school’s peer mentor program, so she started her own.
“Really, the only missing link between tutors and students was this platform,” Liu said.
Enter Peer2Peer, a free online tutoring program that uses the video conferencing service Zoom to connect students with “mentors,” who are students proficient in a range of academic areas. Sessions are up to one-hour long and supervised by a “peer leader.”
Liu said peer leaders sit in on every tutoring session to make sure it goes smoothly. They evaluate the teaching style and relationship between mentor and student to help match students with the right mentor in the future. Peer leaders are also in charge of scheduling sessions, managing emails and students and promoting the program.
Since the first tutoring session on April 2, Liu said Peer2Peer has conducted more than 40 successful sessions. The program has also developed a network of more than 30 qualified mentors who can help students with all levels of math up to AP calculus and AP statistics, all levels of English up to AP English, all sciences up to chemistry and physics, history, computer science, competitive math, music and languages such as German, French, Spanish and Chinese.
As someone who has participated in peer mentoring before, Liu knows first-hand the benefits of learning from other students. She said students are often more comfortable getting extra help from their classmates than their teachers. It’s also a chance for students to work with someone who understands their thought process, Liu said.
“This is someone who understands them,” she said. “This is their friend almost.”
Peer2Peer mentoring is not just for students who are at the top of their class. In fact, Liu said some mentors are also students in other subjects they aren’t so great in.
“This is the place where you can enhance your strengths and your weaknesses,” she said.
For Liu, the goal of creating Peer2Peer has always been to reduce the barriers of education. Money is often one of those barriers. That’s why she decided to make the program free and the mentors agreed to donate their time.
She said mentors often walk away from a session with more knowledge about their subject after teaching it to someone else. Plus, they get a valuable service experience and the ability to make a difference during these uncertain times.
“Education is one of the most powerful things that anyone can have to make a difference,” Liu said.
Want to learn more?
Apply to be a mentor or request a tutoring session at www.peer2peercharlotte.weebly.com or email email@example.com for more information. Stay connected by following @peer2peercharlotte on Instagram.