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Teach the Need to make tutoring more accessible for high school students

A non-profit organization with the aim of making tutoring more accessible to secondary students has announced that they are expanding into Kingston.

Founded by second-year Queen’s University student Sunny Cui in 2020, the organization now has over 30 volunteers who have already tutored over 130 kids across Ontario. The organization, which was founded in the Greater Toronto Area, provides underserved high school students with webinars, resources and qualified volunteer tutors.

Cui says he saw a need for accessible tutoring for high school youth after starting his own business called Rhomi Tutoring while living in the Greater Toronto Area. He says he began serving the lower-income areas such as Jane and Finch, teaching grades 10 to 12.

“Pretty soon, I had six part-time employees and commanded a tutoring rate of between $20 to $30 an hour,” Cui told YGK News.

However, as the business kept growing, he found that the demographic of students his group had tutored had changed.

“It was a very successful business but, as I was tutoring kids, I realized that, as my business grew bigger and bigger, the students came from better schools and I was essentially pricing out the lower-income kids that I originally sought to tutor.”

After realizing this, Cui sold his business to a friend and invested his earnings towards creating what Cui calls the “antithesis” to his initial business. Teach the Need now strives to reduce the financial barriers associated with tutoring and education.

Currently, Teach the Need is primarily funded through a combination of grants and donations from parents who believe in the cause. All tutors are currently volunteers. Cui told YGK News that many of his past tutees decide to give back by also becoming tutors with Teach the Need.

“Tutoring can be very intellectually fulfilling, as the tutor can review the material as they teach it. It also allows the tutor to remain highly knowledgeable in the area that they tutor,” Cui tells YGK News.

The most in-demand subjects include math, chemistry and physics, though he says that computer science and English are also increasingly in demand. 

Since Teach the Need’s Model is virtual, Cui’s organization has been able to navigate tutoring throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “Since the Ontario curriculum is the same throughout the province, [Teach the Need] is able to provide comparable services throughout the province, whether the tutor resides in Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton or Windsor.”

Teach the Need is actively seeking new tutors to join their team, interested individuals can sign up at www.teachtheneed.org/get-involved.

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