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Look for the helpers: true heroes emerge during the covid-19 crisis.
Mister Rogers famously once said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” In these challenging times, there are countless heroes out there risking their lives to care for others. People from all financial levels are stepping up to fight COVID-19.
In this day of popular superheroes, remember that not all heroes wear capes. Some deliver the mail, some keep businesses free of infection and others stock the country’s food. Local members of the community and even some celebrities are also getting in on the action.
Let’s give a huge round of applause to all the essential workers, philanthropists, businesses and helpers who are the true heroes of the COVID-19 crisis. Maybe this will inspire you to also do good for others, no matter how big or small the act is.
Doctors, nurses, caregivers and public health workers are doing their best to help defeat COVID-19. They are also in the same boat as our other heroes and are at high risk of getting infected. However, that hasn’t stopped these heroes from working tirelessly to save lives.
Some U.S. health workers travel to other states to assist with the pandemic patients as well. For instance, 12 physicians and eight nurses from UCSF went to New York City to help take care of patients infected by the virus. Some health workers are also serving people outside of hospitals. In Miami, Dr. Armen Henderson tests people who are homeless for the virus.
Grocery Store Workers
As shelter-in-place orders took effect, one of the first groups of people who witnessed the chaos from the fallout was grocery store workers. Shoppers nationwide suddenly hoarded toilet paper, cleaning supplies and canned food, overwhelming supermarket employees.
While many people are required to stay home to prevent spreading the virus, grocery store workers are asked to put their safety at constant risk. These unsung heroes keep the nation fed and shoppers safe during the pandemic. Stores have implemented social distancing rules , limited the number of items each person can buy and disinfected carts and checkout areas — constantly. Thanks to the incredible work of these front-line soldiers, people can get essential food and supplies.
Custodial and Sanitation Workers
It’s terrifying to work on the front lines during the crisis, especially for custodial and sanitation workers. These important employees protect businesses like hospitals, schools and government offices by keeping them clean and germ-free.
Custodial and sanitation workers are regularly exposed to everything they come across. For employees with families, it’s also scary to think about what they could take home to their loved ones. Unfortunately, many workers voiced that they don’t have the proper equipment to perform their jobs, such as masks, protective gear or even cleaning supplies. Hopefully, these workers will soon get the support and respect that they rightfully deserve.
The Department of Homeland Security states that critical workers include farmworkers. Some sources estimate that a majority of harvesters in the U.S. are undocumented immigrants. They handle fruits and vegetables with high-quality care so they maintain freshness and nutrients. These soldiers are more importantly the backbone of America’s food supply, helping to ensure that stores will be well stocked and Americans will eat.
However, farmworkers are at high risk of contracting the virus. That’s not the only threat that they face; these workers are also in danger of deportation and wage cuts. Despite the risks, these courageous men and women are still showing up for work during this difficult time.
Mail Carriers and Delivery Workers
Postal workers, mail carriers and those working in delivery, packaging and shipping are also true champions who keep the country running. These workers make sure we receive our necessary documents and supplies in rain, sleet or snow.
Now, they’re risking their lives in the midst of a deadly virus outbreak to keep us together. These heroes are willing to sacrifice their health to serve customers, even without the necessary protection.
Rihanna: Pop superstar and Fenty founder Rihanna is here to save the world. In March, she donated $700,000 worth of ventilators to Barbados, her country of birth. The hero also donated $5 million to various organizations fighting the pandemic in the U.S., the Caribbean and Africa.
The funds will go toward the purchase of N95 masks, safety goggles, gloves, sanitation wipes and full-length gowns. It will also provide supplies, testing, care, support and food for the elderly and vulnerable communities. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was extremely grateful for the donations and thanked Rihanna for taking care of others.
That’s not all. The star also donated $2.1 million to help domestic abuse victims in quarantine in Los Angeles. Cases of domestic violence have surged worldwide since the COVID-19 lockdown. Rihanna is among many celebrities who are assisting in COVID-19 relief efforts.
Jon Bon Jovi and Christina Aguilera: Jon Bon Jovi is also serving the community at his New Jersey nonprofit restaurant, JBJ Soul Kitchen. The famous singer washes dishes at the diner, where the food has no prices. Customers who are struggling only pay what they can.
Christina Aguilera is another celebrity responding to the crisis. The singer is working to give safe shelter to abused women, children and the homeless in these challenging times.
Gap Inc., Distilleries, Tesla and Dyson: Businesses and their founders are also doing something special to give back. Gap Inc. and other clothing companies transformed its factories to produce masks, gowns and scrubs for healthcare workers while their store operations across the country are temporarily closed. Hundreds of distilleries are making and giving away hand sanitizer, including one of the world’s biggest brewers, Anheuser-Busch. Tesla and Dyson (the vacuum company) are building ventilators to help address the current shortage.
Jack Dorsey: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey pulled $1 billion in Square equity to support COVID-19 efforts, which represents 28% of his wealth. Once the pandemic is over, the leftover money will be used to help girls’ health and education. Plus, he’s teaming up with Rihanna to provide more response efforts, including the Mayor’s Fund to help domestic violence survivors. He’s not the only business mogul promoting philanthropy efforts.
Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Jack Ma: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos dedicated $100 million to food banks, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated $25 million and joined forces with Bill Gates to help develop COVID-19 treatments. Plus, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma of Alibaba continues to donate millions of masks, testing kits and ventilators to many nations around the world, including the U.S., 10 Asian countries and 54 African countries.
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Math & science, english/ language arts & history, foreign languages, elementary & middle school tutors.
Loren graduated St.Bonaventure University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and N.J Teaching K-12 Special Education Certificate from Centenary College. She has been an educator for 30 years and specializes in teaching students Pre-K to twelfth grade in all levels of special education. Her goal is to help students use all of their modalities to be successful and love learning.
Liz graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree. A teacher at the Montessori School, Liz also has years of classroom experience teaching students in grades K-6. Liz can tutor students in all subjects preschool through sixth grade, as well as all levels of Spanish. Her goal is to help each student achieve their best!
Allison graduated from Centenary College, Magna cum Laude from with a B.A. in English and NJ Teaching K-8 certification in 2003. She has been an educator in the northwest New Jersey area for 20 years and has taught at all grade levels from kindergarten through eighth grade. Allison currently works for the Sparta Public School District at Sparta Middle School. Allison enjoys teaching reading strategies and watching the student become a more confident, and independent learner.
Matt graduated from West Morris Central and attends Seton Hall University majoring in Elementary Education with a Secondary Concentration in Middle School Mathematics. Matt has worked at The Newark Academy - helping students with Math Skills in the Elementary grades. His approach is to meet each student where they are and help them build their skills and confidence. He is available to assist students in Math from Elementary to Algebra 1. Matt is the president and founder of Reach Out - a Long Valley-based non-profit.
Kaitlyn graduated from William Paterson in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. She then graduated from Walden University in 2019 with a Masters degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. She currently teaches Kindergarten in Washington Boro. Kaitlyn enjoys watching her student learn and grow and become confident in their abilities. She strives to create meaningful relationships with each and every one of her students and is passionate about helping them succeed.
Jen graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2016 with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematical Teaching. She then graduated from TCNJ in 2017 with a Master's Degree in Special Education. Jen currently teaches middle school math and social studies in Hunterdon County. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and abilities and is excited to help students discover their love of learning. Jen strives for every student to build confidence in their abilities and feel successful in the classroom.
Monique graduated from Liberty University with her Master’s in Teaching with a Concentration in Mathematics. She currently works at Branchburg school district as a middle school math interventionist and 8th grade Financial Literacy teacher. Monique enjoys assisting students who struggle in mathematics by showing them various ways to solve problems they may encounter and letting them choose a method that allows them to be successful. Monique is available to tutor 5th-8th Grade Math, Algebra 1 & Geometry.
Laura graduated from Centenary College in 1999 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Elementary Education. She completed her Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from the College of St. Elizabeth in 2010. While a resident of Long Valley, she has been teaching 2nd grade and 3rd grade for over 20 years in the Mount Olive School District. She uses a myriad of strategies to help students feel successful, spark their curiosity and to foster a lifetime of learning!
Kayla graduated from Centenary College in January 2014 with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and Special Education. She currently teaches 6th grade mathematics in Roxbury Township. Kayla has a love for teaching, and helping students feel confident in math.
Katlyn graduated from Caldwell University with an elementary education and psychology degree. She also has her special education certification. Katlyn is currently a 5th grade Language Arts teacher in Mount Olive and working towards her Masters in STEM leadership and curriculum. She has always had a love of learning and tries to help her students find that same love and passion for learning new things.
Gina graduated from West Chester University with a dual major as Elementary Education and Special Education. In addition to this, Gina went on to achieve her middle school certifications with a specialization in English Language Arts. Gina has worked with students from the ages of Pre-K up to 8th grade. Currently, Gina works as a special education teacher at Black River Middle School in Chester. Gina has a passion for helping students achieve their goals, and getting to know each student and what makes them unique!
Danielle graduated from St Peter’s University with a masters degree in elementary education. She has over 20 years of classroom teaching experience. Currently, she is teaching second grade at Willow Grove School in Hackettstown, NJ. She enjoys watching the kids gain confidence and independence as they grow and learn. Her goal with each student is to ensure a love of learning that will last a lifetime.
MATH & SCIENCE TUTORS
Chris graduated from Rutgers University in 2017 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. He currently works in Oncology Research at Morristown Medical Center as a clinical research associate. Chris has significant experience tutoring students in high school level math and science over the years, and takes great pride in helping students attain the self confidence that comes with overcoming classroom obstacles, and finding academic success. He specializes in Algebra 1 & 2, Pre-Calc, and especially enjoys guiding students through all scientific disciplines.
Lowell has a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Moravian University, and obtained a Masters in Economics from Clark University. He has experience as an adjunct professor of Statistics, teaching at his alma mater. His goal as a teacher is to enable his students to develop a positive relationship with their academics through mastery of the material, and to foster an intrinsic motivation to learn. He is currently pursuing his elementary teaching certificate in the state of NJ.
Chris graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in chemistry. Chris is an engineer by day and a tutor by night; he enjoys helping students discover different ways to approach a problem, and connect theory to application when possible.
Sam has always been fascinated by science. What other field of study lets you stand on the edge of the unknown and confront it head on? It’s exciting, it’s new, it’s ever-changing, and it always presents us with a new challenge to face! Sam is a faculty member at Saint Elizabeth University in Morristown, where she teaches undergraduate students everything from Basic Biology, to Microbiology, to Human Genetics! Helping prepare the next generation of scientists to face challenges is by far the best part of my job, and I am looking forward to using my background in the sciences to help students aim even higher in their science classes…and beyond!
Greg has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, a Masters Degree in Statistics and a Masters Degree in Business. He is an adjunct professor at Centenary College in addition to having extensive experience in tutoring and business. Greg is available to tutor in the following areas: Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Precalculus, Calculus, Statistics.
Tricia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Montclair State University with a B.S. in Mathematics and then Summa Cum Laude with a M.S. in Mathematics. She is currently teaching at Lenape Valley Regional High School. In her 6 years at Lenape, she has taught all levels of Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and the SAT prep class. Her favorite part of teaching and tutoring is that exact moment when her student's confusion goes away, seeing the understanding on her student's face, and the light bulb goes off!
Branden graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Biotechnology. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Rutgers University and is an active scientific investigator with published research in the field. He has experience teaching science to students at various levels of their education. His passion for promoting an interest in science and research experience is an invaluable tool, helping students to find their interest and strengths in science.
Kyle graduated from Virginia Tech in 2017 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating, Kyle spent the past few years working at a Civil Engineering Firm as a civil site designer. Kyle has also spent the past few years tutoring math mainly at an elementary school level but also has experience tutoring high school and college level math. He is comfortable tutoring subjects such as algebra 1 & 2, geometry, precalculus, statistics and calculus. Kyle's main goal is to identify any challenging areas that a student may be experiencing and focusing on solving those problems in a fundamental and relevant approach.
Joe graduated from New Jersey City University in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in mathematics and Secondary Education. Joe has been teaching High School mathematics for 5 years in Newark, including Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry at all levels. Joe sees math in everything in life and has a way of explaining it to students at their level so that it makes sense to them in real world scenarios. Although he enjoys teaching in the classroom, he loves working one on one with students to help bring out their full potential.
Justin graduated from Rowan University with a Bachelors in Mathematics with a concentration in Education. He has a passion for Mathematics and excels at breaking down complex and daunting problems into manageable steps that can be understood. Justin is available to help students in various math classes such as: Algebras 1 & 2, Geometry, Precalculus and Calculus as well as SAT/ACT prep.
Ken graduated from West Point with a BS in Mathematics, and completed graduate work at Rensselaer, with an MS in Operations Research/Statistics and another MS in Applied Mathematics. Ken was a career Army officer, which included a period as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at West Point. Ken’s civilian career entailed using his math skills in marketing analytics, primarily in advertising agencies. Ken believes that math is both science and art, and strives to break problems down into fundamental, understandable steps that can be embraced by students with confidence.
Matt currently teaches physics and chemistry at Mount Olive High School. He is also the current lead mentor for the Mount Olive Robotics Team. With ten years of experience in the classroom, Matt hopes to impart an appreciation for scientific phenomena and how we collectively gather information and solve problems, regardless of our academic background or social status. His passion for physics came from audio recording and skateboarding, and he is still deeply passionate about sports, the outdoors, and DIY music.
Reno graduated from West Morris Central as part of the class of 2018 and most recently graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in May 2022 with a major in Biological Neuroscience. With his passion for the field of science and fascination with math, I am eager to work with students to make this subject matter more relevant and easy to understand. I am available to assist students in Biology, Chemistry, and Math.
Steve graduated from Kutztown University with a degree in Secondary Education with a Concentration in Mathematics. Steve completed his graduate work at Montclair University where he earned a Master's Degree in Mathematics Education with a Concentration in Algebra. Steve has been teaching Middle School Mathematics since 1994. Currently, Steve teach's 7 grade Pre-Algebra and Algebra in the Sparta school district. Steve is able to help students in Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II.
Jenna graduated Cum Laude in 2015 with a B.S. in Mathematics from Ursinus College. Jenna currently teaches Math at Morris Knolls High School and has been tutoring since 2014. She is also taking classes to earn her Master's in Education from TCNJ. She enjoys extending her knowledge and love for the subject to students who are struggling.
Arjuna Kalkunte graduated from the Morris Country Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, as well as attended both Pennsylvania State and Rutgers Universities. He specializes in explaining scientific and mathematical areas of study, including Calculus, Geometry, Chemistry, Physics, and any associated SAT/ACT test preparation.
Bill Bielen graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Saint Peters College and a Masters degree in mathematics from Purdue University. After spending many years working for a major telecommunications company and then private consulting, Bill joined Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in the mathematics department as an adjunct instructor. While at RVCC, he taught courses in College Algebra and Precalculus, retiring after 14 years as an adjunct professor. Bill is a strong believer in building a student’s confidence and reinforcing basic concepts when it comes to the student’s learning of math.
Dylan graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in mathematics and a minor in statistics from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. He has always been passionate about everything math and strives to show students how interesting math and its applications can be. He likes finding unique approaches to a problem and this has led to a more complete understanding of the content. Being able to show various perspectives on a problem is his specialty and something that allows him to reach a wide variety of students with different learning styles.
Eli graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2021 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. A teaching assistant throughout university, Eli has a track record of helping students succeed. He is passionate about encouraging the learning spirit; and goal oriented, he seeks to help students see their hard work pay off.
Ishaan is currently an honors bachelor's candidate at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, pursing a major in psychology and a minor in biological sciences with a pre-medical concentration. He has over 4 years of experience in tutoring subjects including Algebra I, Algebra 2, and SAT Math. He is eager to support students throughout their learning journey.
Albert graduated from New Jersey Institute of Technology with a BS in Applied Physics. He has a passion for all levels of mathematics and physics and is dedicated to helping students appreciate and understand the concepts and problems presented to them. Currently, along with tutoring, Albert is applying to graduate school for physics.
ELA & History Tutors
Greg is a Long Valley resident and West Morris Central alumnus who graduated from Rutgers University with a B. A. in English before receiving his teaching certification from Centenary University. He has taught at both public and private high schools in New Jersey where he has helped students from every level learn and excel in English Language Arts. He is available for tutoring for Middle/High School English and SAT test prep.
Teaching since 2016 and tutoring since 2015, Becky has an array of experience teaching 9-12th grade students of all levels literature, writing, SAT/ACT prep, and more. After finishing her MA with thesis in English Literature at TCNJ, she's excited to return to the team with a fresh perspective. She can't wait to help her students dig deeper and think harder about English!
Celia graduated from Fairfield University in 2023 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and minors in Educational Studies and Politics. She is in the process of getting her teaching certification in Secondary Social Studies. Celia has experience tutoring/mentoring students in the Bridgeport Public School system. She has a passion for history and literature, a strong appreciation for the arts, and a core belief that each student has their own unique identity. Celia is available to help students with SAT/ACT test prep, History, and English.
Jay received a B.A. from Rutgers University, with a double major in English and Spanish, and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Translation and Interpreting at the same institution. Having been raised by two teachers, Jay understands the importance of a strong education and hopes to empower students by helping them achieve their greatest academic potential and gain confidence in their own language skills. Jay believes that improving language abilities is one of the most worthwhile efforts a student can undertake, and as such is grateful to serve as a guide for students during that process.
Amber graduated from Rider University in 2015 with a B.A. in English Literature and holds a M.A. in English Literature from Mercy College. Currently, Amber works as a Senior Library Assistant at the Florham Park Public Library where she helps readers find their next favorite book. Amber brings her passion for reading and writing to each tutoring session and enjoys working with students to help find and develop their own voice and confidence in their reading and writing skills. Amber is available to help students with essay writing, literature analysis, and SAT/ACT Test Preparation.
Bekah graduated from Swarthmore College in May 2019 with degrees in Psychology and Linguistics. A doctor of child and adolescent psychology, she is particularly interested in developmental learning and cognition sciences and loves applying the strategies she learns to help guide her students through test prep, essay writing, and language learning!
Becky graduated from Gettysburg College and earned a B.A in English with a Writing Concentration, and a minor in Peace and Justice Studies. She is in the process of getting her teaching certification in Secondary English Education. Becky recently completed her student teaching internship, where she taught 12th grade College-Level British Literature and 9th grade English. Becky has a great passion for writing and enjoys helping students improve their writing skills to become confident writers. She believes in recognizing the individual needs of each student and tailoring her sessions around those needs to ultimately lead to great success.
Courtney graduated from Montclair State University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a minor in Sociology. She has been tutoring middle school and high school students for the past three years at Homework Helpers. There is no greater thrill for her than to see her students succeed. Courtney has helped countless students improve their SAT and ACT scores. Many of those same students have received assistance from Courtney writing their college essays. Courtney is available to help students on the SAT/ACT/PSAT Prep, College Essays, Middle School/High School English.
Kirsten is a Long Valley resident and West Morris Central Alumni. She attended County College of Morris where she graduated with her Associate’s Degree in English. Currently enrolled at Montclair State University, Kirsten is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a dual certification in Secondary Education. She has extensive experience tutoring peers at County College of Morris and at Montclair State University. Kirsten has a passion for Literature and writing. She can work with middle school and high school English students, in addition to working with students for SAT/ACT prep. Kirsten believes that all students learn in their own way, and she works to help them try to understand what methods are most suited to them.
Lauren graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2018 with a B.A. in English and minors in both Creative Writing and French. She worked as a peer tutor in college and loves to help students improve their critical analysis and writing skills. She believes that all students can improve their scores and/or grades with an individualized approach, and hopes to increase her students’ confidence in their reading and writing abilities. Lauren is available to help middle school and high school students with academic English assignments such as essays and literature analysis, SAT/ACT test prep & French.
Rachel graduated in 2021 with a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a B.A. in Environmental Science with a minor in Marine Science. Rachel currently teaches middle school Science in Bergen County and has been tutoring since 2016. She is currently finishing her Masters in IT at Stockton University. She loves to share her science knowledge through fun and engaging lessons! Rachel is available to tutor Biology and Middle School Science.
Ryan graduated from Drew University in 2022 with a B.A. with a major in English (Writing and Communications). He is currently continuing with Drew’s Masters of Education program with an aspiration to work more with students. Ryan believes that a student’s experience should be tailored to how they learn best, and he strives to lead our students to success.
Alexa is a West Morris Central graduate and is currently pursuing a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education at Centenary University. She has extensive experience in academic writing and also works as a peer tutor at her school. Alexa strongly believes all students have the potential to succeed and enjoys helping them reach their full potential. Alexa is available to help students with academic/college level writing, SAT/ACT test prep, history, and English.
Foreign Language Tutors
Silvana graduated with Honors Summa Cum Laude from Kean University with a B.A. in Spanish with Secondary Education Certification. She also earned a dual Master’s Degree in Spanish from James Madison University and the University of Salamanca, Spain. She taught High School Spanish for 13 years and she loves helping students make learning Spanish relevant and to develop an appreciation and respect for the Spanish language and culture.
Kayla earned her B.A. in Modern Foreign Languages: Spanish and French Translation & Interpretation from James Madison University. She previously taught ESL in Limoges, France, and currently teaches Elementary Spanish in NJ. Kayla loves working with learners of all ages and sharing her enthusiasm for foreign language acquisition.
Bekah graduated from Swarthmore College in May 2019 with degrees in Psychology and Linguistics and is currently pursuing her doctorate in child and adolescent psychology. She is particularly interested in developmental learning and cognition sciences and loves applying the strategies she learns to help guide her students through test prep, essay writing, and language learning!
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Homework Helpers Tutoring: More than a Traditional Learning Center
Article by Josh Goodkin
Originally published in Bridgewater City Lifestyle
Let me introduce myself, I’m Josh Goodkin, founder of Homework Helpers – a tutoring and test preparation center in New Jersey that offers personalized education solutions for students of all ages. At just 24 years old, I left the corporate world to open my tutoring center in my hometown of Long Valley, NJ. In just 10 years, we have quickly expanded the business’s footprint globally, and now have 40 tutors on staff who work with more than 250 students, mostly in Morris, Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset and Sussex counties. Most recently, with the transition to virtual sessions, we now have clients in India, Morocco, Canada and nine states!
I’m very proud of our resilience and the quickness we turned an in-person tutoring company into an international tutoring company serving students with the same quality and attention we were known for pre-COVID-19. Our entire staff deserves the credit as they quickly learned how to effectively tutor virtually. I’m also so proud of the community I grew up in and the community we are located in.
My story dates back to my childhood in a few key ways. As a kid, my sisters and I grew up working with tutors for help with our homework, and for me personally – math. These educators were so pivotal in my life, so much so that they were considered part of the family. They came over a few times a week to help us learn and grow, and even stayed for dinner. Funny enough, at my Bat Mitzvah, there was a whole table reserved just for tutors! In being exposed to tutors at a young age, I quickly recognized how tutoring could be such an instrumental tool in helping kids not only get by in school, but flourish.
As I got older, I worked summers as a camp counselor and babysitter. In doing so, I recognized how much I loved helping kids, and decided to go to college to become a pediatrician. Unfortunately, despite the tutoring I had received myself, math was still not my strong suit! So, I chose to take a step back and re-evaluate, and in doing so, I realized that there was another way I could work with kids and help them reach their fullest potential, and that was by creating a company that mirrored my own tutoring experiences growing up.
Homework Helpers was born in 2011, on the premise that tutoring is not a one-size-fits-all industry. Every student has a unique set of needs and learns differently – and our services help them reach their goals in more personalized ways, regardless of grade, subject or ability.
Our goal is to give teachers a place to share their passion for teaching and helping students achieve success. We are a business that welcomes all students, and we serve each with kindness, respect and the idea that every student is unique and therefore requires an approach customized to them. At Homework Helpers, we strive to boost grades while providing students with the confidence to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
We are a local business to our roots, with many tutors’ alumni of the local schools or living in Long Valley and its surrounding towns. In fact, many on our staff often have had the same teachers as some of the students they currently work with. In addition, we sponsor and support our local sports leagues, boy/girl scouts, local school theaters, churches, dance/cheerleading squads and more. We love our community and want to support them as much as they have supported us.
Unlike other tutoring centers, the sessions offered at Homework Helpers are 100% customizable. This means that parents can build their own packages, and our tutors create personalized sessions for each student based on their learning needs – from ABCs to SATs. We’re constantly creating, collaborating and discussing new ways that we can keep students motivated and learning to the best of their abilities. Examples include a prizing system where students in grades K-8 can earn tickets for working hard, and these can eventually be turned in for prizes of different values – ranging from small stuffed animals to larger toys and gift cards. Students in our SAT and ACT programs can also enter our quarterly contests, where winners of certain categories can walk away with TVs, laptops and more great things.
We believe that we’re not just a facility to feed the mind, but also the stomach. Students often come to us after school where they haven’t eaten anything since lunchtime, so we offer daily pizza for everyone and bagels on weekends, a full snack bar stocked with all the foods that kids love – and so much more.
Overall, we don’t want kids to view tutoring as painful or something they dread doing. We’re here to help them in whichever way they need, and that means offering them a comfortable experience where they’ll feel encouraged to reach their fullest potential.
Currently, our focus is on preventing the “COVID Slide.” Every summer, we see people comment on the “Summer Slide” – an 8-week period of time where it’s been shown that many students lose some of the learnings they’ve gained over the school year. Now, COVID-19 has added a new element of concern for many
Families and educators worry how the absence of traditional school settings and summer learning programs will impact students in the fall and the long term. We’re working on creating programs to help kids “brush off the rust,” regain better study habits, refresh skills that may have fallen off during this time, and to give them the confidence and skills they need to be successful in the fall – whether it be virtually, or in-person.
Sample programs include a Math Transition class for kids who are graduating 8th grade and entering high school, helping them understand how to handle the rigors of a new school and different levels of expectations. We’re also offering a new Debate Club to help students stay ahead of current events and learn how to formulate opinions based on research, and even a Home Economics session to teach kids everything from how to write a check to how to do laundry – things that may not be taught in school, but are pivotal for them in terms of life skills. All of these programs are accessible to kids online, and our hope is to bring them back in-person in smaller group settings during the month of July as New Jersey continues to re-open. In addition, We are focused on creating lawn signs for everyone local senior to display their name and the college they are committed to attending. We want to give all seniors the proper recognition they deserve and might not be getting during these abnormal times.
The hit of COVID-19 has certainly been the most interesting time for us as a company, as I’m sure many business owners can relate. When the pandemic first hit New Jersey, students were in the midst of wrapping up their school years, which meant preparing for finals, studying for the SATs and ACTs, and for many high schoolers, determining their college plans. COVID-19 put much of this on hold, and truthfully - stopped our business in its tracks. We were forced to close our doors, and sit down to re-evaluate how we could keep students motivated and learning from the comforts of their homes. From there, we created our first-ever virtual tutoring model – which allowed tutors to continue working with students via video conferencing.
Beyond that, we quickly saw that learning at home is not easy for many kids – and especially can be tough for their parents, who are worried about keeping them engaged. With that in mind, we launched Homework Helpers Happenings – a series of free education workshops each week that help kids get ahead, and stay ahead in their learning. This includes sessions like COVID & College, a weekly Q&A session with a professional college advisor who teaches the ins and outs of college applications, and even daily Story Time for younger kids – where our tutors dress up in fun costumes and read popular children’s books aloud. The best part is that just like our virtual tutoring options, these workshops are accessible to students worldwide – so no matter where you live or what you’re learning, there’s a great session available for you that you can easily tune into.
If there is a silver lining in all of this or a lesson to be learned, it’s that when things are going well it’s hard to step back and recognize areas for growth or improvement. COVID-19, while uncertain and unsettling, gave us a much-needed wake-up call. I was forced to take a moment to become more retrospective and re-evaluate the ways and means that I can further grow my business and expand my services with the goal of helping as many students as possible. I’ve realized that it’s important to think of obstacles as opportunities to get creative. For us, this allowed our company to become even stronger, impact more and ultimately, become even more successful than we were before.
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