Coronavirus kindness: South Bay teens create tutor network for hundreds of students

Dustin Dorsey Image
Thursday, March 26, 2020
South Bay teens create tutor network for hundreds of students
Leland High School students Uditha Velidandla and Sarika Sriram came up with a curriculum based on state and district standards to help more than 350 students keep learning while they are off school.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- While some students may have seen the school shutdowns as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic as a break, Leland High School students Sarika Sriram and Uditha Velidandla saw it as an opportunity.

So they decided to put their resources together to help hundreds of kids all without leaving their desk chairs.

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"My mom was scrambling to find some resources for my brother so he wouldn't lose the momentum that he had during the school year," Velidandla said. "So I figured if my mom was doing this, probably a bunch of parents in the area are trying to find resources for their children."

What started with just the two 17-year-olds grew to a team of 90 plus volunteers offering free tutoring to more than 350 students.

"We just posted an i-volunteer page with all the slots and we used Almaden South Asian Womens' Association (ASAWA), our volunteer base that this is all based off of," Sriram said. "We spread the word to those people and by word of mouth, people heard about it, found the link and signed-up."

From there, the girls developed a learning curriculum that follows state and district standards and adjusts to the needs of students from first grade to middle school.

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They offer hour long math, reading comprehension, writing, science and an optional music and art class five days a week on top of their own school work.

All for a reward they never knew they needed.

"What it took on our part was just 48 hours of dedicated work to put it together," Velidandla said. "The fact that it grew and we were able to support a major part of our community is rewarding."

"It's not like we're doing something that only certain kinds of people can do," Sriram said. "Everyone can do it. We're just regular seniors in high school. I think our biggest message is that it doesn't take a lot to do something that's going to be helpful to the community and giving back."

For more information, visit the Almaden South Asian Womens' Association (ASAWA) here.

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