Troy freshmen create free tutoring nonprofit for students

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published March 26, 2021

 Tutor Time co-founders and Troy High School freshmen Deeksha Hadagali and Shreyana Keeta.

Tutor Time co-founders and Troy High School freshmen Deeksha Hadagali and Shreyana Keeta.

Photo provided by Tutor Time

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TROY — After dealing with the struggles caused by remote learning themselves, two Troy High School freshmen have created a tutoring nonprofit that helps students across the country, from California to New Jersey, understand their coursework and feel comfortable asking questions in the virtual classroom.

Shreyana Keeta and Deeksha Hadagali created the free tutoring service they call Tutor Time for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“Shreyana and I thought, ‘We should do something about this,’ because I know a lot of other students were feeling the same way I was,” Hadagali said.

“I know I definitely faced a problem of not feeling comfortable enough to ask questions in front of the whole class,” Keeta added. “I would just sit there and pretend I understood it.”

The nonprofit, which the duo co-founded and began operating in late-November 2020, had a bit of a rocky start, Keeta acknowledged, but she said momentum picked up quickly.

“We feel like we’re gaining progress and going somewhere,” Keeta said.

The nonprofit currently serves around 70 students, the majority of whom do not reside in the Troy School District, and it has more than 100 high school student volunteers. The organization is looking to enroll more students.

“We wanted it to be student to student, because I know students can relate to each other on a different level than teachers,” Keeta said, adding that tutors who have already learned the subjects can pass down tips and tricks to understanding it better. “There’s a connection, so we wanted to create a platform where you can get tutored for free by other students you can look up to as role models.”

Providing the tutoring for free was a conscious decision as well, because of how cost-prohibitive some other tutoring services can be for students needing access to additional support.

Subjects currently being offered for tutoring are math, English, Spanish and French.

“Those are the core subjects we felt people were having the most trouble (with),” Keeta said, “and I know with languages, finding tutors for that is also very hard, so we wanted to put in languages, because I know a lot of high schoolers take it, and I know a lot of elementary schools start teaching it then.”

Science subjects like biology, chemistry and more may be programmed into the nonprofit’s services down the road, Hadagali said. There have been about 20 tutors involved who’ve expressed interest in teaching a science subject, she said. Those subjects would likely be reserved for middle school students, Keeta added.

Volunteers who sign up to tutor are eligible to receive volunteer hours with the nonprofit, which can expose students to the skills needed for teaching or other professional skills like teamwork and team building. “I know I’ve definitely learned a lot being on the other end, and seeing how much teachers put into work and how much they actually do,” Keeta said.

There’s enough to learn from being a volunteer, but for both Keeta and Hadagali, the real benefit has come from enrolling in their own program themselves. They said the real focus on the program is the students.

“Honestly, I’m so happy I joined because I would have been failing math if it wasn’t for my teacher,” Keeta said. “My tutor reexplained everything. He goes through my textbook and makes notes beforehand. He’s super prepped, and I’m so thankful for my tutor because without him I wouldn’t understand a single thing in math, and because of him I’m able to understand and I feel confident in myself.”

As students across southeast Michigan and elsewhere in the nation begin to return to in-person learning in some capacity, the duo said they want to keep the program up and running as long as they can.

“We hope to continue, even in college too. We want to get more students, since we have more volunteers than students (right now), but we definitely want to grow,” Hadagali said.

“We want to globalize this as much as possible,” Keeta added.

For more information on Tutor Time, visit https://tutor-time3.webnode.com.

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