Kidsburgh: Mentoring And Tutoring During The Pandemic

Mentoring is important to the lives of so many children in our region, but the pandemic and social distancing has made that difficult. Still, mentors are finding ways to continue helping children online; KDKA's Kristine Sorensen reports.

Video Transcript

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- Mentoring is so important to the lives of so many children in our region. But the pandemic and social distancing has made that pretty difficult. Still, mentors are finding ways to continue helping kids, as you'll see in this Kidsburgh story right now from Kristine Sorensen.

KRISTINE SORENSEN: This is what mentoring traditionally looks like, adults helping young people one on one. But this is the new mode of mentoring online.

- That's good. You can learn a lot from reading.

KRISTINE SORENSEN: These are high school students from Shadyside Academy, tutoring and mentoring elementary school students from Urban Pathways Charter School. For five years, the sessions were in person at Urban Pathways School in downtown Pittsburgh. But as soon as the pandemic hit, they transitioned to online. Erin Canning has been tutoring 10-year-old Gary for a couple years. They work on English, math, and before COVID, would build robots.

- I like the math, and I like to build the robots.

ERIN CANNING: Seeing them actually learn and, like, seeing the results of us actually helping them is really nice to see.

KRISTINE SORENSEN: The tutoring is needed now more than ever. 10-year-old Aduan is having a hard time with all his classes on a computer. How would you compare doing school at home to having to-- to when you used to do it in person?

ADUAN BROWN: I hate online school.

KRISTINE SORENSEN: Alex Kramer says he's also learning from Aduan in the tutoring sessions.

ALEX KRAMER: Some of the kids have tough home lives and stuff like that. So I think that sense of awareness of, you know, different backgrounds that these kids are going in, and helps give me a better understanding of what they're going through.

LINDSAY MYERS: When you learn more about, you know, different areas of your city where people might not be as privileged as you are, and how you can help and support in a way that's benefiting that community, when you really know them, you can figure out a way to benefit and to help.

KRISTINE SORENSEN: It's tutoring, mentoring, and relationship building, whether it's in person or virtual.

GINA MARIA POTTER: Going to school on Saturday, who likes to do that, right? But the fact that these kids still come, it's because that connection piece is huge.

KRISTINE SORENSEN: Now, the mentoring partnership of Southwestern PA, a leading mentoring organization in the region, has adapted all of its training on how to be a mentor to online, and has trained more than 850 mentors just since the pandemic began. Kids need mentors now more than ever. And if you'd like to learn how you can help change a child's life as a mentor, go to kidsburgh.org. We have links for you at kdka.com/kidsburgh. I'm Kristine Sorensen, KDKA News.